February 28, 2024

“We don’t know from the polling what’s going to happen next week,” Chris Ager, the chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party, said Tuesday on CNN. “We just have a very independent-minded electorate, and they’re not going to look at what happened in Iowa and make a decision based on that.”

Mr. DeSantis, who has accused both Mr. Trump and Ms. Haley of being insufficiently devoted to banning abortion, and has placed his opposition to transgender rights at the center of the campaign, has not focused heavily on New Hampshire. He has shifted his post-Iowa resources to South Carolina.

“People aren’t picking their presidential candidate in New Hampshire based on where they stand on transgender rights,” said Steve Duprey, a former McCain aide who was a Republican National Committee member from New Hampshire before being ousted for not being loyal enough to Mr. Trump.

Last year, Mr. Duprey endorsed Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina in the presidential race. Then, when Mr. Scott dropped out, he threw his support behind Ms. Haley, and he is now working to piece together the old McCain coalition to help her stop Mr. Trump from running away with the nomination again.

The challenge Mr. Duprey faces is that for so much of the party, the old focus on fiscal issues has been replaced by the magnetism of Mr. Trump, who in 2016 won the state’s primary election by nearly 20 percentage points. That contest all but crushed the hopes of several moderate rivals, including Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Chris Christie, and gave an improbable boost to John Kasich, who finished second.

Now, Ms. Haley’s chances of showing she can compete with Mr. Trump beyond next week may depend on her ability to reincarnate herself as the next coming of Mr. McCain as the campaign moves to her home state, South Carolina. The big question is whether New Hampshire Republicans see her that way.