Showdown in the Granite State: Trump and DeSantis To Face Off in New Hampshire

(Photos by Scott Olson/Getty Images, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
June 27, 2023

Republican primary front runners Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis on Tuesday will hold dueling campaign events in New Hampshire, with each candidate seeing the Granite State as a crucial opportunity.

Trump sees the New Hampshire primary—the first in the nation, following Iowa's caucuses—as "an early chance to clear the crowded field of rivals," similar to his 2016 primary victory, the New York Times reported. DeSantis, meanwhile, hopes that "New Hampshire will be the primary that winnows the Republican field to two."

DeSantis as recently as January had a lead over Trump in New Hampshire, according to one poll. In recent months, though, the Florida governor has slipped in the polls, while his super PAC in May took his campaign ads off the air. Trump now has a 34-point lead over DeSantis, according to a New Hampshire Journal poll taken this month.

DeSantis's biggest challenge is "the size of the field," the Times reported, noting that long-shot Republican hopefuls appear "to be making headway in consolidating some of the anti-Trump vote."

"Right now, Trump's the guy to beat in New Hampshire," Republican strategist Dave Carney told Politico. "It doesn't mean he can't be beat. But right now, no, no one's beating him."

DeSantis will attend a town hall at the same time that Trump will appear at a New Hampshire Federation of Republican Women event, prompting some backlash among local officials against DeSantis.

"It has always been a New Hampshire hallmark to be considerate when scheduling events," the group's events director, Christine Peters, said in a statement. "To have a candidate come in and distract from the most special event [the women's group] holds in the year is unprecedented."

"If there's one thing you don't do in New Hampshire, it's piss off the grassroots women," an adviser to an undisclosed rival campaign told Politico.

The DeSantis campaign is "showing some signs of recalibrating," however, Politico reported. A campaign adviser said, for example, that the campaign ad freeze is only temporary.

The New Hampshire primary will take place early next year.