Three days earlier than the New Hampshire main, former President Donald J. Trump introduced a handful of particular visitors onstage at his largest rally within the state this 12 months: a slew of South Carolina Republicans.
In a present of drive meant to undermine his principal rival for the Republican presidential nomination, Nikki Haley, the previous governor of South Carolina, the out-of-state guests advised hundreds of individuals in an area in Manchester, N.H., that that they had made the journey to induce New Hampshire voters to reject Ms. Haley and unite behind Mr. Trump, with a purpose to convey a swift finish to the Republican main.
“We’re right here for one motive,” Gov. Henry McMaster, who succeeded Ms. Haley within the governor’s mansion, stated in a thick Southern drawl. He then quoted the Spice Girls: “What we’re right here to do is inform you what we would like in South Carolina, what we actually, actually need.”
In one other election cycle, the scene might need certified as weird: a handful of out-of-towners whose main election is not going to happen for an additional month telling New Hampshire residents, who delight themselves on their “stay free or die” independence, to heed their name to finish the race for the Republican nomination earlier than it even reaches their state.
And the group was keen to hear. Mr. McMaster concluded his speech by crying: “New Hampshire is for Trump. South Carolina is just too. We’ll see you on the end line!” A person within the crowd shouted again, “God bless South Carolina!”
The touring pack of South Carolina Republicans provided robust proof of the problem that Ms. Haley and Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida face as they attempt to get a foothold within the race after Mr. Trump’s decisive win in Iowa. The Trump marketing campaign hopes the show will add to his momentum earlier than Tuesday’s voting, and spotlight Ms. Haley’s lack of assist in her residence state.
Mr. Trump and his group are desirous to drive each Ms. Haley and Mr. DeSantis from the race earlier than the South Carolina main on Feb. 24, hoping to avert what might in any other case be an costly struggle for delegates lasting by way of March.
“We’re going to be there in three weeks,” Mr. Trump stated. “So you already know what I’m doing? I’m kissing ass.”
Since his landslide victory in Iowa, Mr. Trump has made the case that overtaking him is so unlikely that his rivals ought to droop their campaigns in order that he and the Republican Party can deal with defeating President Biden in November.
“We’re going to have one other election on Tuesday, however after that, when Trump wins overwhelmingly, we’ve bought to get behind him,” Representative William Timmons, one of many South Carolina leaders who got here to New Hampshire, stated after the rally.
He and Mr. McMaster had been joined on the rally by South Carolina’s lieutenant governor, Pamela Evette; Alan Wilson, the lawyer common; Curtis Loftis, the treasurer; Murrell Smith, the speaker of the Statehouse; and two different congressmen from the state, Joe Wilson and Russell Fry.
The visitor appearances might humiliate Ms. Haley and additional undermine her case for the nomination by illustrating how remoted she seems to be in her personal state, the place the Republican main can be held on Feb. 24. And the South Carolina group backing Mr. Trump on Saturday will observe the state’s junior senator, Tim Scott, who endorsed Mr. Trump in Concord, N.H., on Friday.
Ms. Haley will not be with out assist in South Carolina, the place she served as governor from 2011 to 2017, when Mr. Trump appointed her as ambassador to the United Nations. She has the backing of Representative Ralph Norman and Katon Dawson, a former state Republican chairman, together with a small variety of South Carolina legislators.
When requested at a marketing campaign cease in Peterborough, N.H., about Mr. McMaster’s campaigning with Mr. Trump, Ms. Haley fired again: “I’m sorry, is that the individual I ran in opposition to for governor and beat? Just examine it.” Ms. Haley defeated Mr. McMaster in a 2010 main, and he then promptly endorsed her.
She additionally advised that her incapacity to win high-profile supporters each in her residence state and in Washington got here from her willingness to stress state lawmakers and veto their pet initiatives when she was governor, alongside together with her criticism of Congress on the marketing campaign path.
“If Donald Trump needs all his politicians, they usually all wish to go to him, they’ll have at it,” Ms. Haley stated. “But that’s all the things I’m preventing in opposition to.”
Ms. Haley’s path to the nomination possible hangs on a victory or an in depth second-place end in New Hampshire, the place impartial voters make up 40 % of the voters. Though Mr. Trump maintains a big lead within the polls, Ms. Haley has narrowed that lead lately, successfully making the first a two-person race within the state.
But Ms. Haley would wish to observe a robust efficiency in New Hampshire with one other one in South Carolina, the place Mr. Trump enjoys a big and dependable following. He leads in South Carolina polls by a large margin and may rely on assist there from Senator Lindsey Graham, an in depth ally.
Campaigning on Saturday in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Mr. DeSantis was requested about South Carolina elected officers’ endorsing Mr. Trump. “Iowa Republican management lined up behind me, and we got here in second,” Mr. DeSantis advised reporters. “So I feel there’s a restrict to what the management can do.”
As the New Hampshire main nears, Mr. Trump has more and more escalated and sharpened his assaults on Ms. Haley. He now usually argues that whereas she did an enough job in his administration, she doesn’t have what it takes to guide on her personal.
“She is not presidential timber,” Mr. Trump stated bluntly in Concord on Friday.
Mr. Trump has additionally repeatedly tried to backpedal on his previous reward of Ms. Haley, claiming steadily that he appointed her ambassador to the United Nations solely to clear the way in which for Mr. McMaster to develop into governor.
Jazmine Ulloa and Nicholas Nehamas contributed reporting.