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Donald Trump claims first win of 2016 in Republicans’ New Hampshire primary

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump answers a question during a campaign stop at an Elks Lodge in Salem, N.H., Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Billionaire Donald Trump locked up his first victory in the 2016 race for the White House on Tuesday with a win in the New Hampshire Republican primary.

“We are going to make our country so strong…we are going to start winning again,” Donald Trump said while speaking to supporters after his New Hampshire Republican primary.

Trump also spoke about his desire to build a wall on the Mexican U.S. border, build up the American army and get rid of Obamacare and Common Core in his victory speech.

According to the Associated Press, Trump won the Republicans’ New Hampshire primary. John Kasich took second place, and Bernie Sanders had the Democratic victory over Hillary Clinton.

After finishing behind Ted Cruz in Iowa, Trump has spent the past week both protesting that result and stepping up more traditional campaign activities. While he’s long preferred large rallies, he spent the final full day of campaigning holding some smaller town hall events.

Trump said he “never realized” the need to encourage supporters to actually take part in the caucuses. “Now, I think we’re going to have an OK ground game.”

The large Republican field was winnowed after Iowa, but there remains a crowded grouping of more traditional candidates, including Rubio. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have all staked their White House bid on New Hampshire, hoping a strong showing would lead voters — and crucial financial donors — to give their candidacies another look.

Prior to Tuesday’s vote, Trump launched the harshest attacks — not just against Cruz, but against Bush as well. The former Florida governor is one of three Republicans hoping Rubio’s recent stumbles have opened a fresh path for one of them to emerge as the more mainstream alternative to Trump and Cruz.

“Jeb is having some kind of a breakdown, I think,” Trump told CNN, calling Bush, the son and brother of presidents, a spoiled child and an embarrassment to his family. “I think it’s a very sad situation that’s taking place.”

The enmity was mutual. Vying for votes in Nashua, Bush described his opponent variably as a loser, a liar, a whiner and the worst choice for president. He blasted what he said was Trump’s proclivity for “insulting women, castigating Hispanics, ridiculing the disabled and calling American POWs losers.”

Trump did get in a shot at Cruz during a massive rally in Manchester on Monday night. When an audience member shouted out an insult directed at Cruz — a vulgar term for “coward” — Trump repeated the term and jokingly reprimanded the woman.

Cruz spokesman Rick Tyler responded via email, saying, “Let’s not forget who whipped who in Iowa.”

Rubio appeared to be breaking away from the governors after a stronger-than-expected showing in Iowa, but struggled in Saturday’s debate under intense pressure from Christie. The New Jersey governor has relentlessly cast the young senator as too inexperienced and too reliant on memorized talking points to become president.

Rubio played into Christie’s hands by responding with the same well-rehearsed line each time he was challenged by the governor. Rival campaigns hope the moment was enough to give voters pause when they head to the polls on Tuesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

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