Election 2016

Donald Trump Sweeps to Victory in New Hampshire Primary

The real estate mogul’s success in New Hampshire happened despite a comparatively weak campaign organization and a penchant for controversy.

Donald Trump, once an object of mockery and scorn by many in the political establishment, has won the New Hampshire Republican primary.

According to projections from the Associated Press, this is the first electoral victory for the real estate mogul in a 2016 election campaign he has so far dominated.

With two exceptions, every Republican nominee in the past 50 years has won the Granite State’s first-in-the-nation primary.

Trump’s campaign, fueled by a blend of insurgent populism and unprecedented media attention, has turned every rule of politics on its head. The real estate mogul’s success in New Hampshire happened despite a comparatively weakcampaign organization in the Granite State and a penchant for controversial remarks that would have sunk the campaigns of almost any other candidate.

Trump has constantly courted controversy throughout his presidential bid. Among other incendiary statements, he has said that John McCain, a decorated Vietnam veteran and former POW, was “not a hero,” implied that Fox News host Megyn Kelly’s tough questioning during a debate was because she was menstruating and, most recently, called Ted Cruz “a pussy” at a rally in Manchester on Monday, the night be before the primary.

Yet none of the controversies have affected Trump’s standing with his base of disaffected blue-collar white voters, who remain drawn to his pledge to “Make America Great Again”. Many of Trump’s themes were familiar to a New Hampshire primary electorate that strongly supported Pat Buchanan in 1992 and 1996; but Trump added an aura of celebrity and drew in many who were entirely new to the political process.

One typical Trump voter, Paul Porier from Manchester, told the Guardian on Monday night that he had never voted before in his life. The middle aged veteran, wearing a hat emblazoned with the name of the ship he had served on in the Navy, said simply and insistently: “I’m voting for Donald Trump because he’s going to make America great again.”

Porier, an independent, said the end of America’s greatness coincided with Barack Obama taking office and that “once we get rid of Obama, things are going to change”. He was finally voting because while thought all politicians are “in it for the money”, Trump wasn’t. “He doesn’t need the money” said Poirier.

Stephen Stepanek, a Republican state representative, who boasted of being the first elected official in the country to endorse Donald Trump, told the Guardian that he felt “vindicated”.

The loyal Trump supporter, who insisted that he never doubted Trump’s campaign after his second place finish in Iowa, said: “This will be our Republican nominee who will ultimately be the president of the United States he is going to make America great again.”

He was planning on going down to South Carolina eventually to campaign for the real estate mogul but was enjoying the result tonight. “I’ve been through the highs, I’ve been through the lows and this is the best high right now,” he said.

Ben Jacobs is a political reporter for Guardian US based in Washington DC. He was previously a reporter for the Daily Beast. Follow him on Twitter @bencjacobs

Sabrina Siddiqui is a political reporter for Guardian US based in Washington DC. She previously covered US politics for the Huffington Post and worked with the White House team at Bloomberg News.

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