February 24, 2024

Nikki Haley defiantly refused to drop out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination after losing to Donald Trump in New Hampshire on Tuesday.

The 2024 hopeful said the battle was ‘far from over’ and she is a ‘scrappy fighter’ who is ‘just getting started’.

Haley was betting on performing better in New Hampshire after a disappointing third place finish in Iowa‘s caucuses last week – but again came up short.

Instead, on Tuesday evening the former United Nations Ambassador swiftly conceded to Trump as first projections filtered in and said she is looking forward to the primary in her home state of South Carolina next month.

‘I want to congratulate Donald Trump on his victory – he earned it, and I want to acknowledge that,’ Haley, 52, told supporters at her Election Night rally in Concord, New Hampshire.

‘You have all heard the chatter among the political class. They are falling all over themselves, saying this race is over. It’s not over!’ she proclaimed.

With one third of votes counted, Trump was ahead of Haley – 53 percent to 45 percent. 

Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley lost her one-on-one primary with Donald Trump in New Hampshire on Tuesday

Disappointed Haley supporters in Concord, New Hampshire react as primary election results filtered in Tuesday evening showing her behind Donald Trump

Disappointed Haley supporters in Concord, New Hampshire react as primary election results filtered in Tuesday evening showing her behind Donald Trump 

What was a three-person contest up until over the weekend turned into a one-on-one for the Republican nomination after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis dropped out of the race on Sunday. 

Now, Haley and Trump are the only two battling for the Republican nod for the 2024 general election. 

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden essentially has the Democratic nomination locked-down with no serious contenders. He even won New Hampshire’s election for Democrats on Tuesday even though he wasn’t on the ballot. 

Haley, who is decades younger than Trump and Biden, claims that whichever party ‘retires its 80-year-old candidate’ first, will be the party that wins the 2024 election. 

‘New Hampshire is first in the nation – it is not the last in the nation. This race is far from over. There are dozens of states left to go,’ Haley said in her concession speech, adding that ‘the next one is my sweet state of South Carolina.’ 

With her two children Rena, 26, and Nalin, 22, in the audience, Haley previewed that she’s heading back to South Carolina now – where she hopes to finally clinch a win in her home state. 

The Palmetto State, however, holds the fourth primary contest after Iowa caucuses, New Hampshire primaries and Nevada contests. It appears from her remarks Tuesday, that Haley largely plans to ignore Nevada, where she is participating in the primary and cannot earn delegates from the state. 

Haley also doesn’t seem to be faring much better in South Carolina’s primary, where a polling average from RealClearPolitics puts her 30 points behind Trump – 52 percent to 21.8 percent. 

Trump’s win in New Hampshire proves that even in a state with more moderate Republicans, the former president still has a strong grip on the GOP. 

Many Democratic voters in New Hampshire told DailyMail.com that they switched their registration to undecided so they could cast their ballot for Haley in the Republican primary election in hopes to foil Trump’s lead.

Polls just days before the primary on January 23, when DeSantis was still considered, placed Haley in a solid second – but still about 20 percentage points behind Trump.

In the month before the primary, Haley was coming within a single-digit of Trump. One poll taken January 12-15 had Haley and Trump dead even with 40 percent each.

Haley conceeds New Hampshire's primary to Donald Trump as her children Nalin, 22, and Rena, 26, stand by on stage

Haley conceeds New Hampshire’s primary to Donald Trump as her children Nalin, 22, and Rena, 26, stand by on stage 

'New Hampshire is first in the nation – it is not the last in the nation," Haley said in her remarks in New Hampshire on Tuesday. "This race is far from over. There are dozens of states left to go'

‘New Hampshire is first in the nation – it is not the last in the nation,’ Haley said in her remarks in New Hampshire on Tuesday. ‘This race is far from over. There are dozens of states left to go’

Haley's daughter Rena and her husband Joshua stand alongside the 2024 hopeful during her election night rally in Concord, New Hampshire on Tuesday, January 23

Haley’s daughter Rena and her husband Joshua stand alongside the 2024 hopeful during her election night rally in Concord, New Hampshire on Tuesday, January 23

On Tuesday night, Haley brought back into question the issue of age and – in turn – fitness for office.

The 52-year-old brought up Trump’s recent gaffe where he confused Haley with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during rally remarks in New Hampshire. She also repeated her call for mental competency tests for politicians over the age of 75, a qualification that both Trump and Biden meet.

‘Most Americans do not want a rematch between Biden and Trump,’ she said in her concession speech in Concord on Tuesday.

‘The first party to retire its 80-year-old candidate is going to win this election,’ she added. ‘I say it should be the Republicans!’

Haley said that if Trump thinks he’s mentally fit, there should be ‘no problem standing on a debate stage’ to go head-to-head in the narrowed-down primary race.

Trump has refused to participate in any primary debates so far – but Haley is hoping to entice him now that the field only consists of them.

A New Hampshire Republican primary poll released the Sunday before the primary election, Nikki Haley was shown 19% behind Donald Trump – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was considered in the polling because he had not yet dropped out

A New Hampshire Republican primary poll released the Sunday before the primary election, Nikki Haley was shown 19% behind Donald Trump – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was considered in the polling because he had not yet dropped out

Haley barnstormed New Hampshire after leaving Iowa with 19.1 percent of the vote in the caucuses on January 15. She held an average of three official events each day, along with off the record living room politics stops in diners, pubs and markets.

Every day since the Iowa caucuses Trump has held a rally in different New Hampshire towns, with the exception of Thursday. He has also made off the record stops in the first-in-the-nation primary state like at his campaign’s headquarters.

As voters come out of polling places in the blue town of Portsmouth, New Hampshire on Tuesday, may told DailyMail.com that they cast their ballots for Haley – while others wrote in President Joe Biden’s name. 

Only one voter disclosed that they voted for Trump, claiming that Haley has ‘not chance.’  

Donald Trump won New Hampshire's primary election despite the state's more left-leaning electorate

Donald Trump won New Hampshire’s primary election despite the state’s more left-leaning electorate