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Despite pressure, loss in home state, Haley vows to continue campaign

Despite losing a fourth consecutive race by double figures, Nikki Haley said she is seeing her campaign through to Super Tuesday.
Despite pressure, loss in home state, Haley vows to continue campaign
Posted at 9:27 PM, Feb 24, 2024

Given polling going into Saturday's South Carolina Republican presidential primary, it comes as no surprise that Nikki Haley lost her home state. 

Members of her party in the state that twice elected her to be the state's governor made it clear they prefer former President Donald Trump over her. But given that she is a well-known figure within the state, if she couldn't win her home state, where does she go from here?

According to her, not anywhere. 

Recent polling paints a bleak picture for her campaign. According to a Quinnipiac University poll released last week, Trump leads Haley among GOP presidential primary voters nationwide by an 80-17 margin.  

SEE MORE: Exit poll of South Carolina GOP voters shows support for Trump

With Super Tuesday and nearly one-third of delegates up for grabs in about 10 days, she says she is committed to staying in the race. 

She remains the only candidate remaining in Trump's way. 

"I don't believe Donald Trump can beat Joe Biden," Haley said. 

The Quinnipiac poll does give credence to her argument. In a hypothetical matchup with Biden, Haley leads Trump 46-43. The same poll, however, shows Biden ahead of Trump 49-45 in a potential rematch of the 2020 election. 

Despite her vow to remain in the race, many in her party have largely moved on. 

On Saturday, the South Carolina Republican Party issued a statement vowing its support behind Trump in the general election.

"South Carolina is Trump Country again," said South Carolina GOP Chair Drew McKissick. "It was true in 2016 and 2020, and South Carolina Republicans just put an exclamation point on it today. His Promises Made, Promises Kept agenda is what strengthened our country before, and can do it again," McKissick said. "If we want to grow our economy, close our Southern border and save our country from a radical leftist agenda, then we need to unite our Party right now and put Donald Trump BACK in the White House this November."

SEE MORE: Biden campaign flush with cash as Trump spends on legal fees

Although Trump himself did not mention Haley once during his nearly 30-minute victory speech Saturday, a political action committee backing Trump said, "What is Nikki Haley still doing in the race?"

The Make America Great Again PAC said that Haley was "moving the goalposts" by staying in the race despite not performing any better in South Carolina than she did in the New Hampshire primary earlier this month. 

But Haley is centering her campaign on her electability, often taking aim at both Biden and Trump in the same breath. 

"I've seen that same frustration nationwide," she said. I share it. "I feel it to my core. I couldn't be more worried about America. It seems like our country is falling apart. But here's the thing, America will come apart if we make the wrong choices."

Unlike numerous other primaries, South Carolina was an open primary, meaning Democrats and independents could participate. Although she did better among Democrats and independents, according to exit polling conducted by Decision Desk HQ, Trump still had more votes among these voters. Independents and Democrats comprised about 23% of the electorate in Saturday's primary. 

Ahead of Super Tuesday on March 5, Michigan will hold its party primary this coming Tuesday. She told supporters she intends to campaign there on Sunday.

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