Nikki Haley Refuses to Drop Out of Presidential Race Despite Landslide Loss in Her Home State

On Saturday, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley (R-S.C.) refused to end her hopeless campaign for the presidency, even despite a crushing landslide defeat in her own home state’s primary.

As the Daily Caller reports, former President Donald Trump won the South Carolina primary on Saturday, with 60% of the vote to Haley’s 39%. This victory was a devastating blow for Haley, who had previously served two terms as governor of the state. Trump won the state with the endorsements of numerous prominent South Carolina officials, including Governor Henry McMaster (R-S.C.) and Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.), the latter of whom had also run for president before dropping out last year.

In her speech following the announcement of the results, Haley stubbornly refused to drop out, claiming that “I know 40% is not 50%, but I also know 40% is not some tiny group. There are huge numbers of voters in our Republican primary who are saying they want an alternative.”

“I’m not giving up this fight when a majority of Americans disapprove of both Donald Trump and Joe Biden,” Haley added.

Despite Haley’s insistence on remaining in the race, a number of her largest financial backers announced withdrawal of their support for her campaign following the disastrous loss in South Carolina. Americans for Prosperity Action, a key group in the broader network funded by billionaire Charles Koch, announced that it was ending support for her candidacy.

South Carolina is the latest loss for Haley, who remains the only somewhat serious challenger left in the primaries against former President Trump. She came in a narrow third in the Iowa caucuses with 19%, behind Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ 21% and President Trump’s 51%. Haley then lost the New Hampshire primary by an 11-point margin, with 43% to Trump’s 54%. In the non-binding Nevada primary, Haley came in a distant second to the “None of the above” option, which received 63% to Haley’s 31%; President Trump subsequently swept the state’s official caucuses. Trump then won the U.S. Virgin Islands’ caucus in a landslide, with 74% to Haley’s 26%.

In every primary thus far, President Trump has broken previous historical records and won more votes than ever before: In both Iowa and Nevada, he set the records for the highest vote totals ever received by the winner of the Republican caucuses in those states. In the cases of New Hampshire and South Carolina, he broke the records for the highest vote totals received by the winner of any presidential primary in those states, from either party. The previous record-high in South Carolina was George W. Bush’s 300,000 in 2000; President Trump received over 450,000 votes in Saturday’s primary.

The next contest in the Republican primary season is Michigan, which votes on Tuesday. Polls overwhelmingly project that President Trump will win a landslide in the state, which was crucial to his victory in 2016 and is still seen as crucial to any path to the presidency in November. The next primaries will be in Idaho, Missouri, Washington D.C., and North Dakota, before the highly-anticipated Super Tuesday contests on March 5th, where 15 states will cast their votes.

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About Eric Lendrum

Eric Lendrum graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was the Secretary of the College Republicans and the founding chairman of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter. He has interned for Young America’s Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and the White House, and has worked for numerous campaigns including the 2018 re-election of Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22). He is currently a co-host of The Right Take podcast.

Photo: NEVADA, IOWA - DECEMBER 18: Republican presidential candidate former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley addresses the crowd during a campaign stop at the Nevada Fairgrounds community building on December 18, 2023 in Nevada, Iowa. Iowa Republicans will be the first to select their party's nominee for the 2024 presidential race when they go to caucus on January 15, 2024. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)