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Trump Has Last Laugh with Sweeping New Hampshire Win

Allegra Boverman for NHPR
Trump at the New Hampshire Statehouse on his filing day

Donald Trump was effusive as he praised the state that gave him his first win - and made it a big one.

"I have so many friends up here, and they are special special people. New Hampshire remember you started it. You start it."

Trump’s top local backers were quick to seize on his 19-point victory as proof he’s remaking the Republican party.

“There is a revolution going on.”

That’s Trump New Hampshire co-chairman Steve Stepanek.

“Donald Trump is attracting Democrats, Republicans, Independents, young people, old people, women, men, right across the board.”

Credit Maureen McMurray for NHPR
Frank Ricci from Providence Rhode Island holds a sign aloft at the campaign's camp in Manchester

The precise make-up of Trump’s winning coalition is unknowable, but the sweep of his win was vast. Trump won big in suburban Salem, blue-collar Claremont, and liberal Keene.

The victory also put to rest a number of lingering questions. Would the Trump’s supporters who’ve packed his rallies show up to vote? Could Trump win over while rejecting retail-style politics that typify presidential campaigns here?And would Trump have the last laugh after thumbing his nose at the Republican establishment? Yes , yes and yes, apparently.

Joe Kelly Levasseur is a Manchester Alderman.

“There’s not one major political guy here. Did you notice that? Weird? Huh. That tells you something right there, man."

“I’m new to politics, I’ve never done this before.”

The Sandy Homansees of the world - he’s a campaign volunteer who’s worked every event Trump’s had here – they were everywhere.

"I like the idea of Donald Trump because he’s a businessman. I know you are recording this but take the f--king politics out of it. I want to cry, I want to share my heart with you and tell you this is a good thing..."

Credit Maureen McMurray for NHPR
At the campaign's primary night headquarters in Manchester, Trump's supporters cheer when the race is called for their candidate

It was certainly a good win, even if Trump benefited from a large field that split the establishment vote. As Trump set his sights beyond New Hampshire, he assured supporters there will be more wins to come.

"And we are going to win so much, you are going to be so happy. We are going to make America so great, maybe greater than ever before. Thank you thank you."

Trump’s next chance for a win comes in ten days when voters head to the polls in South Carolina.

Josh has worked at NHPR since 2000.

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