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A voters leaves a booth after casting a ballot in the New Hampshire presidential primary at a poling site in Derry, N.H., Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024.
A voters leaves a voting booth Tuesday in Derry, N.H. David Goldman / AP

Eyes on 2024: Results in key towns that explain New Hampshire's GOP primary

Here’s what went down in bellwether towns that reported a significant enough share of the vote by Wednesday morning:

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Heading into election night on Tuesday, we broke down five key towns to watch to get a sense of what was happening in the Granite State beyond the topline results: Salem, Derry, Concord, Lebanon and Manchester.

Here’s what went down in each, for the towns that reported a significant enough share of the vote by Wednesday morning:

Salem: This town on the state’s southern border with Massachusetts was one the most populated towns where Trump had his best performance in 2016, winning 48% of the vote.This is also the hometown of Haley’s top surrogate, GOP Gov. Chris Sununu. The town boasts a higher share of undeclared voters (39%) than Republicans (35%) or Democrats (28%). Last night, Trump took home almost 67% of the vote, again amounting to one of his best performances this time, too. 

Derry: Another town south of Manchester and situated along Interstate-93, Trump overperformed here in 2016, winning 42% of the vote. Undeclared voters are also the largest share of registered voters here (38%), followed by Republicans (35%) and Democrats (26%). Last night, Trump won the town handily, earning 63% of the vote to Haley’s 34%. 

Concord: The state capital is the most populous city in New Hampshire. There, Democrats (40%) far outnumber Republicans (23%) and slightly outnumber undeclared voters (37%). This was an important place for Haley to win, and she did, with 52% of the vote compared to Trump’s 45%. But she didn’t run up the score here, and that 7-point victory helps explain why Trump’s statewide margin may have been smaller than expected, but still in the double digits. 

Manchester: This is New Hampshire’s largest city where, in 2016, the results largely mirrored the eventual statewide result. Undeclared voters currently make up the largest share of registered voters in Manchester, with 40% of voters there registered as undeclared. Thirty-four percent of voters are Democrats and 26% are Republicans. Despite that, Trump dominated, winning 57% of the Republican primary votes there, compared to Haley’s 41% vote share there.

In other campaign news … 

Haley’s next steps: Vowing to stay in the race, Haley’s next steps include refocusing on South Carolina and spending some time on the fundraising circuit, per NBC’s Natasha Korecki. Haley’s campaign also released a new TV ad in South Carolina on Wednesday morning, knocking Trump and Biden, with a narrator saying, “Biden? Too old. Trump? Too much chaos. A rematch no one wants. There’s a better choice for a better America. Her story started right here.”

B-i-d-e-n: NBC’s Alex Seitz-Wald breaks down Biden’s win in New Hampshire’s Democratic primary, writing that Biden “is on track to win more votes in New Hampshire as a write-in candidate than former President Barack Obama did when he ran for re-election in 2012, unopposed and on the ballot.”

Down-ballot drag?: As Trump marches toward the GOP nomination, he’s already looming over races further down the ballot. That includes the GOP primary for governor in New Hampshire, where state Sen. Chuck Morse has endorsed Trump, while former Sen. Kelly Ayotte has just said that she will support her party’s nominee. 

Staff shakeup: Two top Biden administration officials — Jennifer O’Malley Dillon and Mike Donilon — are joining Biden’s re-election campaign, per NBC’s White House team. 

DeSantis’ take: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis blamed his unsuccessful presidential bid on “checked out” Republicans in his first TV interview since dropping out of the race, per NBC’s Alec Hernández.

Ballot push: Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s third-party presidential campaign said Tuesday that it had collected the necessary signatures to qualify for the New Hampshire ballot, per Axios. 

No labels, but a lawsuit: Two prominent donors to the centrist group No Labels are suing the group, arguing that the group’s pivot to funding a potential third-party presidential campaign amounted to a “bait-and-switch” that misuses their donation, NBC News’ Alex Seitz-Wald reports. No Labels brushed aside the lawsuit, with a lawyer panning the suit as “frivolous,” arguing it’s been years since the donors gave to the group. 

He’s running: North Dakota’s only member of Congress, Republican Kelly Armstrong, announced Tuesday that he’ll run for governor, just one day after GOP Gov. Doug Burgum said he wouldn’t run for a third term. 

Mayoral mayhem: Bridgeport, Conn., on Tuesday held its third mayoral election in five months after allegations of fraud in the September Democratic primary led a state judge to overturn an initial victory by incumbent Joe Ganim, NBC News’ Jane C. Timm reports.