DURHAM, N.H. (NEWSnet/AP) — Donald Trump on Saturday asked New Hampshire voters on Saturday to help him secure the Republican presidential nomination before rivals find their footing, with the 2024 campaign's opening primary five weeks away.

The appearance in Durham was part of a swing taking the former president through early nominating states, as he cites his wide polling lead over a dwindling field of GOP hopefuls. They are trying to block his political comeback as Trump navigates multiple indictments and looks ahead to a potential rematch with President Joe Biden.

“We are going to win the New Hampshire primary, then we are going to crush crooked Joe Biden next November,” Trump said, reminding supporters that he ensured their state would continue to host the nation's first primary after Iowa's kickoff caucuses.

“New Hampshire is going to weed out the insincere RINOs ... Republicans in name only," Trump said, referring to rivals Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor who was endorsed by Trump in 2018, and Nikki Haley, Trump's former U.N. ambassador.

The New Hampshire primary is Jan. 23, eight days after Iowa begins the nominating process on Jan. 15. Nevada and South Carolina come next in the early stages, before Super Tuesday on March 5, when the highest cumulative number of delegates are up for grabs on any single day on the election calendar. The Trump campaign sees a path for him to secure the nomination before Super Tuesday polls open.

Before the rally, Trump's campaign announced an endorsement from former state Senate President Chuck Morse, who is running for governor. Morse, who ran for U.S. Senate last year but lost the primary to a candidate more closely aligned with Trump, told the gathering it’s time for Republicans to “rally around a candidate who can not only win but get the job done for our country."

On Dec. 12, Gov. Chris Sununu endorsed Haley, who is battling DeSantis to become a plausible alternative to Trump. Sununu, a frequent Trump critic who passed on the 2024 White House race, has argued that Republicans with “no path to victory must have the courage to get out” of their party’s primary in order to stop Trump.

Trump called Sununu a selfish “spoiled brat” who passed up a chance to win a U.S. Senate seat in 2022, then indulged his presidential aspirations but found no traction.

“Now he couldn’t get elected dogcatcher,” Trump said. “He’s endorsed somebody that can’t win, has no chance of winning.”

A New Hampshire poll conducted in November by CNN and  University of New Hampshire found that Haley was in second place, well behind Trump, but slightly ahead of DeSantis and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Trump has won New Hampshire’s GOP primary twice, but lost the state in both the 2016 and 2020 general elections.

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