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Haley makes final sprint in New Hampshire as Trump steps up attacks


FILE PHOTO: Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley makes a campaign stop at Mary Ann’s Diner ahead of the New Hampshire primary election in Amherst, New Hampshire, U.S., January 19, 2024. REUTERS/B

By Gram Slattery and James Oliphant

CONCORD/MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (Reuters) – Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley was set to campaign across New Hampshire this weekend in a final push against Republican rival Donald Trump ahead of Tuesday’s nominating contest, as the former U.S. president ramped up his verbal attacks and again targeted her Indian heritage.

Haley, who served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under Trump, has hit back at her former boss following his Iowa caucuses victory last Monday in a bid to thwart his momentum and pitch herself as the best alternative to face Democratic President Joe Biden in November’s general election.

New Hampshire boasts a more moderate brand of Republicanism with a semi-open primary that can attract more centrist voters, who may be turned off by Trump’s four criminal cases, authoritarian language and efforts to overturn his 2020 re-election loss.

One of two remaining candidates challenging Trump for the Republican nomination, Haley needs a strong showing after placing third narrowly behind Florida Governor Ron DeSantis as Trump handily won in Iowa, the first stop in the state-by-state battle to determine the party’s choice to face Biden.

The second Republican contest could help her build support as a viable alternative to Trump – or close her already-narrow path to the nomination even before reaching South Carolina’s contest next month.

Haley is scheduled to sprint across independent-leaning New Hampshire with three stops ahead of a rally on Saturday and four more events on Sunday and Monday.

Trump also returned to New Hampshire for evening rallies throughout the weekend.

DeSantis, who had largely written off New Hampshire, held a brief last-minute stop on Friday before three events Saturday in South Carolina.

Haley sharpened some barbs against Trump during her final campaign swing through New Hampshire even as she paired them with attacks on Biden and told CNN she would pardon Trump if he is convicted on criminal charges.

On Friday, however, she ruled out serving as his vice presidential running mate as he continued to slam her, including again targeting her given first name on his social media platform. Trump has also amplified false posts questioning her birthright U.S. citizenship.

Haley, the daughter of two immigrants from India, was bornNimarata Nikki Randhawa but has long used her middle name Nikki and later took her husband’s surname.

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