Primary day has arrived in New Hampshire, with voters hitting the polls Tuesday — the first six already cast overnight in Dixville Notch — to decide which candidates the state prefers for the 2024 presidential election.
More than 400,000 people are expected to vote throughout the day, with the bulk of results expected to begin being reported by 8 p.m.
NBC10 Boston Political Commentator Sue O’Connell breaks down the status of the GOP race and where Nikki Haley stands against frontrunner Donald Trump.
Both the Republicans and Democrats have primaries on Tuesday. And while the Republican race has certainly been the focus in the Granite State — though the field of major candidates has winnowed down to two: former President Donald Trump and Nikki Haley — it’s the Democratic side that’s expected to keep politicos up into the night.
PHOTOS: NH residents vote, candidates stump in first-in-the-nation primary
Biden write-in campaign could slow results
With incumbent President Joe Biden not on the ballot but running an aggressive write-in campaign, New Hampshire Secretary of State David Scanlan said it could take longer to get results in from some precincts.
“That won’t be any issue at all in the towns that still hand count their ballots, but in a machine count town, the ballot readers are going to have to sort the ballots, or the ballots who have write ins on them, separate them into stacks for different candidates of those write in votes and simply count them up,” Scanlan said.
He said precincts can submit the Republican and Democratic results separately, so that may happen as well.
No major voting issues so far, election officials say
Voting across the state was going smoothly with steady turnout into the early afternoon, according to Secretary of State spokesperson Anna Sventek.
Assistant Attorney General Brendan O’Donnell, head of the department’s Election Law Unit, agreed, saying it was a “great morning” with “no major issues.”
O’Donnell said his office was dealing with “typical complaints” from some voters who were affiliated with one party and wanted to vote in the other party’s primary. Such complaints come in every year, he said. Registered Democrats or Republicans who wanted to switch their party affiliation for this election would have had to do so by a deadline in October.
There were also some isolated issues with accessible voting machines and electioneering in polling locations that were being resolved, he said.
Voters weigh in
Voters were amped up in line in Londonderry on Tuesday.
“We need a change at this point,” David Joy said.
“Well, the whittling down of the Republican side, I mean that was inevitable because we had so many. But we still have a choice, and as for the Democratic party bowing out on this, it’s really disappointing,” said voter Terri Murphy. “It basically feels like we were put on the back burner and our votes don’t matter.”
At the polls in Bow, Linda Kelly, an independent voter and stay-at-home mom, said she voted for Haley.
“I’m not far left or far right. She’s a little bit to the right, but much closer to the middle than any of the other choices,” she said outside a community center.
Kelly sighed heavily when asked who she would support if the general election is a rematch between Trump and Biden.
“I don’t like either of the choices. I probably would lean to Trump just because the economy was better (when he was in office),” she said.
With Trump coming off a record-breaking primary victory in Iowa, New Hampshire’s results are being watched even more closely, as they will paint a clear picture of who the GOP wants to represent them.
The latest Suffolk University/NBC10 Boston/Boston Globe tracking poll surveyed about 500 likely Republican voters. Trump extended his lead over Nikki Haley — at 60%, an increase from Monday. Haley polled at 38%, unchanged from Monday.
Former President Donald Trump gained 3% points in the final tracking poll before Tuesday’s first-in-the-nation primary, giving him a 60%-38% edge over Nikki Haley, according to the latest tracking poll.
Dixville Notch votes for Haley
Those first six votes in Dixville Notch all went to Nikki Haley — a sweep.
“It gave us some good energy and momentum,” Haley said of the unanimous victory after being asked if it was an indicator of things to come.
“We’re not promising that it’s going to be 350,000 to 0 but we’re definitely on track for that,” joked Gov. Chris Sununu, a prominent Haley supporter.
Scanlan wouldn’t go so far as to call Dixville Notch a bellwether for the rest of the state, but he lauded its long tradition of midnight voting.
Former primary rivals were hitting the campaign trail Tuesday on behalf of Trump, including Doug Burgum and Tim Scott.
Haley vows to fight on
Nikki Haley was out in force Tuesday, with New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu often by her side, hoping to upset Donald Trump in the GOP primary.
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Haley has vowed to continue with her campaign even if she doesn’t have a good night in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary.
“We’re going to South Carolina. We have put in the ad buy. We are there. This has always been a marathon. It’s never been a sprint. We wanted to be strong in Iowa. We wanted to be stronger than that in New Hampshire. We’re going to be even stronger than that in South Carolina,” she told reporters.
“I’m running against Donald Trump, and I’m not going to talk about an obituary,” she added.
Trump visits Londonderry polling place
Trump made an unannounced visit to the polls at Londonderry High School on Tuesday afternoon to greet supporters. Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene also stopped by.
“Trump! Trump! Trump! Trump!” his supporters cheered as his motorcade arrived at the school.
“This was totally unannounced. Nobody knew we were coming… Nobody gets crowds like this,” Trump said. “They want to see our country be great again — it’s that simple.”
“I’m very confident,” he added. “We just stopped here, we stopped at a polling site. We picked it at random, we may stop at one more. Nobody knew we were coming. This is pretty amazing.”
Trump predicted a “big loss” for Haley in New Hampshire. Asked about Haley’s statement that she plans to stay in the race no matter what happens Tuesday, he said, “I don’t care if she stays in. Let her do whatever she wants, it doesn’t matter.”
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On Monday, Trump and Haley gathered large crowds in New Hampshire, making one last pitch to voters.
“Let me get this straight. Donald Trump won 56,000 votes out of 3 million in Iowa. He got one-and-a-half percent of the vote in Iowa,” Haley said.
“She is very easy to beat, and you see that with the polls, it just came out tonight we are beating Biden by so much, probably get indicted 3-4 more times by tomorrow,” Trump said.
Both will be in New Hampshire Tuesday night to watch the results roll in. Biden, meanwhile, will be at the White House, after returning from a campaign event in Virginia to discuss what the coming general election will mean for reproductive health in the U.S.
NBC10 Boston’s Matt Fortin and the Associated Press contributed to this report.