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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Trump Starts Campaigning in Early Voting States

'You continue to have to earn your vote. Nothing is taken for granted...'

(Headline USA President Donald Trump is set to kick off his 2024 White House bid on Saturday with visits to a pair of early-voting states, his first campaign events since announcing his latest run more than two months ago.

Trump will be the keynote speaker at the New Hampshire GOP’s annual meeting before traveling to Columbia, South Carolina, where he is set to introduce his state leadership team. New Hampshire and South Carolina hold two of the party’s first three nominating contests, giving them enormous power in selecting the nominee.

Trump and his allies hope the events will offer a show of force behind the former president after a sluggish start to his campaign that left many questioning his commitment to running again. In recent weeks, his backers have reached out to political operatives and elected officials to secure support for Trump at a critical point when other Republicans are preparing their own expected challenges.

“The gun is fired, and the campaign season has started,” said Stephen Stepanek, outgoing chair of the New Hampshire Republican Party who served as co-chair of Trump’s 2016 campaign in the state.

While Trump remains the only declared 2024 presidential candidate, potential challengers, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who was Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, are expected to get their campaign underway in the coming months.

Dave Wilson, president of conservative Christian nonprofit Palmetto Family, said some conservative voters may have concerns about Trump’s recent comments that Republicans who opposed abortion without exceptions had cost the party in the November elections.

“It gives pause to some folks within the conservative ranks of the Republican Party as to whether or not we need the process to work itself out,” said Wilson, whose group hosted Pence for a speech in 2021. He added: “You continue to have to earn your vote. Nothing is taken for granted.”

But Gerri McDaniel, who worked on Trump’s 2016 campaign and will be attending Saturday’s event, rejected the idea that voters were ready to move on from the former president.

“Some of the media keep saying he’s losing his support. No, he’s not,” she said. “It’s only going to be greater than it was before because there are so many people who are angry about what’s happening in Washington.”

Trump remains the only announced 2024 candidate, and early polling shows he’s a favorite to win his party’s nomination.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

 

 

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