Donald Trump is heading into New Hampshire and South Carolina to rejuvenate the 2024 campaign
Former President Donald Trump will deliver the keynote speech at the New Hampshire Republican Party’s annual meeting on Saturday as he returns on track to accelerate his 2024 presidential campaign.
Trump will address hundreds of grassroots Republican leaders and activists at the Salem meeting before chairing a second campaign rally in South Carolina — also an early-voting state — later in the day.
The two events provide Trump with an opportunity to revive his campaign, which has been slow to develop since announcing his candidacy in November. The former president remains the only declared lead candidate for 2024, but several Republicans have either publicly weighed or fueled speculation about potential bids.
In New Hampshire, Trump is expected to officially announce that outgoing state GOP chairman Stephen Stepanek will be included as a senior adviser in his campaign operation in Granite state, a source familiar with the hiring told CNN.
Stepanek co-chaired Trump’s first presidential campaign before becoming New Hampshire’s top GOP official for two terms. He’s joining Trump’s team as the three-time presidential candidate seeks to repeat his 2016 win in the nation’s first primary, a task that may be complicated by waning support among state officials looking for a fresh face to win their ticket outperform party.
Trump’s decision to tap Stepanek was first reported by Politico.
Stepanek had previously expressed excitement at the former President’s upcoming speech, saying in a statement: “President Trump has long been a strong defender of First in the Nation Primary Status in New Hampshire, and we are pleased that he is joining us.” will follow to make a comment to our members.”
Trump’s visit comes days before the Democratic National Committee is scheduled to meet to vote on a new 2024 presidential calendar proposed by President Joe Biden that would strip New Hampshire of its first-in-the-nation primary status — a move that decided rejected by the New Hampshire Democrats. Republicans have already established their early state lineup of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada — the same lineup Democrats previously had.
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, who is considered a potential contender for the 2024 GOP nomination, has harshly criticized Trump. He argued in December that Trump “is not the influence he thinks he is” and said the Republican Party was “moving away” from him.
After the New Hampshire event, Trump will fly to South Carolina, a state that helped him become a GOP nominee in 2016 and where he is expected to unveil a leadership team and a handful of endorsements. Among the top South Carolina Republicans who will attend the Columbia Statehouse event in support of the former president are Senator Lindsey Graham, Gov. Henry McMaster and US Rep. Russell Fry, who won a primary over an incumbent GOP last year had voted to impeach Trump.
Trump remains under investigation by the Justice Department, and Special Counsel Jack Smith is overseeing the criminal investigation into the safekeeping of classified documents at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort and parts of the January 6, 2021 riot at the US Capitol. Both investigations implicate Trump’s behavior.
Trump’s campaign rallies on Saturday follow recent revelations that classified documents have also been found at locations linked to both Biden and former Vice President Mike Pence. Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a separate special counsel to handle the investigation of classified Obama-era documents found in Biden’s home and former private office.
Earlier this week, Facebook parent company Meta announced it would be restoring Trump’s accounts on Facebook and Instagram in the coming weeks, just over two years after he was suspended following the Jan. 6 attack.
This article and headline have been updated.