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Trump wins over Nikki Haley in South Carolina Republican primary

Trump beats Nikki Haley in South Carolina GOP primary

Former President Donald Trump secured a significant victory in South Carolina’s GOP presidential primary on Saturday, as projected by NBC News, maintaining his winning streak throughout each Republican nominating contest thus far. This triumph places him in a favorable position to potentially secure the party’s presidential nomination within the next month.

The defeat of former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley comes as a setback in her home state. With a total of 50 delegates at stake in Saturday’s contest, split between the statewide winner and the winner of each congressional district, Trump’s dominant performance across the state allowed him to secure nearly all of them. Haley managed to grab three delegates from South Carolina’s Charleston-based 1st Congressional District, according to NBC News projections.

Trump’s statewide victory margin over Haley was approximately 20 points.

Following his victory, the former president appears to be on track to secure the party’s presidential nomination despite facing criminal charges in four separate jurisdictions and being subject to hundreds of millions of dollars in civil penalties.

He could potentially reach the necessary 1,215 delegates to clinch the nomination by mid-March, with several states holding de facto winner-take-all primaries on Super Tuesday (March 5) and subsequent contests.

“There has never been a spirit like this,” Trump remarked at his election night gathering in Columbia. “I have never seen the Republican Party so unified.”

Haley and Trump

Haley and Trump (Credits: CNN)

According to NBC exit polls, Trump and Haley were in a close contest among Republican voters with college degrees, with Trump securing 51% to Haley’s 47%. However, Trump maintained a significant lead among primary voters without degrees, securing 74% compared to Haley’s 26%.

Other figures in the exit poll underscored the challenges Haley faced, highlighting the considerable advantage enjoyed by Trump. Despite Haley’s emphasis on her mental and physical fortitude compared to Trump’s, exit polling revealed that 38% of GOP primary voters believed only Trump possessed the necessary strength for the presidency, while just 26% thought only Haley did.

Haley campaigned on polls indicating she would have a better chance of defeating President Joe Biden in the general election. However, exit polling showed that while 57% of South Carolina primary voters believed Haley could likely beat Biden, a striking 83% believed Trump would likely do so.

Haley’s loss in her home state was particularly significant. Trump’s victory could be the most lopsided in a contested South Carolina GOP primary since President George H.W. Bush defeated Pat Buchanan by over 40 points in 1992.

Despite the loss, Haley reaffirmed her commitment to continuing her presidential campaign, pledging to carry on through the Super Tuesday contests next month. She expressed gratitude for the support received, stating, “I’m grateful that today is not the end of our story,” while acknowledging Trump’s victory and her determination to offer an alternative in the primaries.

In a speech outlining her decision to stay in the race, Haley criticized Trump as “a disaster” for the GOP and emphasized her independence from him, stating, “I’m not looking for anything from him.”

While Trump maintained significant leads in public surveys before Saturday’s contest, Haley’s lone congressional endorser, Rep. Ralph Norman, predicted she would “outperform” those surveys.

Despite Haley and her allies’ efforts to target independent and Democratic-leaning voters in the final days of the election, the deficit she faced against Trump proved insurmountable. Trump’s family members questioned Haley’s persistence in the race, with his daughter-in-law suggesting that she might be banking on a criminal conviction to remove Trump from contention.

Despite the challenges ahead, Haley’s supporters expressed their desire for her to continue her campaign, highlighting the unpredictable nature of politics and the potential for unforeseen developments to impact the race.

In summary, Trump’s decisive victory in the South Carolina primary underscores his continued dominance within the Republican Party, positioning him favorably for the upcoming contests as he pursues the party’s presidential nomination. Meanwhile, Haley remains determined to offer an alternative despite the setback in her home state.

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