MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — Republican leaders in Iowa and New Hampshire are vowing to hold their presidential primary contests as scheduled, even as party officials in other states cancel their 2020 primaries to help give President Donald Trump a smooth path to reelection.

The decision to cancel primary contests in at least four states, South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona and Kansas, drew sharp criticism from a vocal minority of Republican operatives. One likened the move to something that would happen in Vladimir Putin's Russia.

At least three Republicans have stepped up to challenge Trump's claim to his party's 2020 presidential nomination. None of them is expected to generate enough support to defeat — or even embarrass — the incumbent president in the months leading up to the November 2020 general election.

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