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New Hampshire voters react after Trump's town hall

Former President Donald Trump's return to New Hampshire to participate in a CNN town hall created buzz for staunch supporters relishing in his dominance of the polls.  

"I thought last night was a tremendous clear messaging from President Trump," said Republican real estate investor Steve Richard. "I think that audience reflected that over and over again."

Trump took questions from Republican and independent Granite State voters and repeated fraudulent claims that the 2020 election was stolen and said he would have the Russian war in Ukraine "settled within one day."  

New Hampshire voters will be the first in the nation to cast primary ballots for a Republican presidential nominee early next year, yet some Trump voters appear not to be swayed by several legal issues facing the former president. 

Earlier this week, Trump was found liable for sexual abuse and defamation against writer E. Jean Carroll. She was awarded $5 million in damages after a jury sided with her unanimously, but Trump called Carroll's story "fake" and "made up" on Wednesday night. 

Donald Trump CNN town hall
Former President Donald Trump participates in a CNN Republican Town Hall moderated by CNN's Kaitlan Collins at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Wednesday, May 10, 2023. Will Lanzoni/CNN

June Dickerson, an independent who voted for Trump, says she believes him. 

"He's a very honorable man," she said. "He always said what was on his mind. He was always honest and forthright and I don't believe lies."

Louise Hoyt, a Republican voter, said she plans to vote for Trump again. 

"They are trying to stop him, that's what they are trying to do," she said. 

However, Trump's attacks on Carroll did not sit well with independent voter Melanie Mortan.

"I think it's amazing that he got that conviction and yet still continues to shame and put her down. It's like he feels like he is above the law. It's despicable," Morton said. 

E. Jean Carroll leaves court after winning her lawsuit against Donald Trump
E. Jean Carroll, center, walks out of Manhattan federal court, Tuesday, May 9, 2023, in New York. A jury has found Donald Trump liable for sexually abusing the advice columnist in 1996, awarding her $5 million. Seth Wenig / AP

The former president remains the clear front-runner in the 2024 Republican presidential primary, but for Kristin Burke, an independent who voted for Trump previously, she said it would be a struggle to vote for him again. 

"I just think there was too much havoc while he was in the presidency and it was just too much for the country," Burke said. 

The former president scored over 50 endorsements in the Granite State, but one top Republican is skeptical of Trump's broad support. Jason Osborne, the New Hampshire House Majority Leader who recently endorsed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the 2024 election, told CBS News that he is beginning to see increasing fatigue in the support for Trump. 

"I think it's a slow bleed. It's not it's not going to be all at once. And this one town hall isn't going to make a big difference," he said. "But over the course of the next several months, as we move through this campaign, as Gov. Ron DeSantis gets into the race and starts picking up support, you're going to start to see more and more of that support dwindle by the time we get to the primary."

— Robert Costa contributed reporting.  

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