Columbia, South CarolinaNearly a year ago, Nikki Haley declared her candidacy for president, seeing as Donald Trump was perceived by Republicans as being less strong politically. Her home state’s early position on the GOP nomination schedule appeared to work in her favor.
If Haley doesn’t make a big progress in the next few weeks, South Carolina might end up being the final destination for her campaign. In the primary on February 24, she has set a goal for herself of 43%. That was her vote share in the New Hampshire primary held last month, and Haley has stated that in future elections, she must continue to increase her percentage.
With just over a week until early voting begins on February 12, polls have the former governor of South Carolina and ambassador to the UN well below that threshold. According to an average of the state’s polls, she lags Trump 63% to 32%. According to a recent Washington Post-Monmouth University poll, as she has grown increasingly antagonistic against Trump, the GOP primary voters in her home state have begun to lose interest in her; only a small percentage now see her more favorably than unfavorably.
Haley’s greatest chance of escaping a humiliating loss in South Carolina is to galvanize a sizable portion of independent and moderate Republicans who oppose Trump as the nominee.Republican primary, Nikki Haley asked followers to stay by her in California, one of the other Super Tuesday states she intends to fight in the following month.
At the Wild Goose Tavern in Costa Mesa on Wednesday, the former governor of South Carolina declared to dozens of supporters, “If you will stay with us in this fight, I’m not going anywhere!” “All I ask is that you stand here with me; I’m willing to take the heat, I’m willing to take the bruises, I’m willing to do the fight and go through the pain.”
Despite the fact that Haley has outlasted every opponent of former President Donald Trump in the primary election and is still accumulating a substantial amount of money, her campaign has a difficult, if not impossible, road to secure the GOP presidential nominee. Polls in the states holding primary elections continue to favor Trump, and Republicans who have gathered around the former president are becoming more adamant in their demands that she withdraw.
As Trump’s influence on the party gets stronger, rumors concerning Haley’s future political goals and potential withdrawal date have intensified.
The former UN ambassador has not announced plans to run for president in 2028, as her campaign has discreetly informed supporters and allies. According to people acquainted with recent conversations, her resolve to continue running for president is greatly fueled by her stance, CNN was informed.
According to those familiar with Haley’s thoughts, she is currently considering the outcome of the current election and its implications for the nation as a whole rather than for herself personally, CNN reported.
“Nikki and many other people could have an opportunity if Trump loses,” a person familiar with the Haley campaign told CNN. “Her opinion is that, even though it might make her unpopular with some in the party establishment today, I’m going all out.”
Her team has also started to increase her visibility in Super Tuesday states, defying the popular belief that she could withdraw from the race following a dismal result in South Carolina. Haley had two campaign rallies in California on Wednesday in addition to announcing her leadership team in Massachusetts. Her campaign said that these events raised $1.7 million in two days. With a fresh digital advertisement in South Carolina, her campaign persisted in denouncing Trump for declining to engage in a debate.
As she has repeatedly stated since voting in the Republican primary began last month—with Trump winning handily in the first two states, Iowa and New Hampshire—Haley declared on Wednesday in California, “We don’t do coronations in America.”
Haley has become far more prominent than she was when she announced her campaign a year ago, more so than any of the other Republicans who attempted to oppose Trump. She developed a nationwide network of funders, rose to prominence faster than any other female Republican contender, and gained more respect from the party’s subset of voters who want to move past the president.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a longtime Republican friend of Haley’s stated to CNN, “She is the alternative to Trump.” This person was discussing potential outcomes. “I wish the group had been searching for one.”
Given Trump’s influence over the party, her campaign has, in fact, attracted a lot of interest from moderates and independents but hasn’t succeeded in igniting a real political movement among Republicans.
Haley is reluctant to talk about her campaign’s demise, not even in private discussions with trusted friends and advisors. She has promised to continue competing through the February 24 South Carolina primary and the March 5 Super Tuesday competitions.
Beyond that, Haley hasn’t talked about her future.
Pointing to the criminal accusations and other legal challenges Trump is facing, the longtime Republican acquaintance questioned, “She will keep winning delegates, why wouldn’t she stay in?”
A constricted route
But from now on, gathering delegates becomes even more difficult. Currently, Haley has 17 delegates to Trump’s 33, and 1,215 are required to secure the nomination. Mid-March is the earliest a candidate may gain enough delegates to guarantee the nomination.
Haley made the decision to run in Nevada’s non-delegated primary on February 6. “None of these candidates,” who was presumably a semblance of Trump as he was not on the ballot, defeated her by a margin of more than thirty points. The only other serious contender vying for delegates in the state’s February 8 caucuses is Trump.
According to a Monmouth/Washington Post poll conducted this month, Haley is losing by 26 points in South Carolina, where 58% of prospective GOP primary voters are supporting Trump.
On March 5, when more than a dozen states will cast ballots, nearly 900 delegates will be at stake. With only two contenders remaining in the race, it is much more conceivable that a candidate who receives the majority of the vote will win all 169 delegates from several of those states, including California.
States may choose, after March 15, to provide all of their delegates to the candidate who receives the most votes, even in the event that the winner does not receive a majority.
Nevertheless, Haley’s supporters contend that she has a route forward. Her campaign manager, Betsy Ankney, told reporters this week that the candidate had the “resources to go the distance,” citing her record-breaking $16.5 million fundraising haul in January as evidence.
In an effort to facilitate independent support for her in a Republican primary, her team has also highlighted the eleven Super Tuesday states that permit open or semi-open primaries. Prior to Haley’s defeat in New Hampshire, Ankney stated in a document that such states offer “fertile ground” for her.
Haley has indicated to funders at recent fundraisers that she intends to continue running until Super Tuesday, reiterating her campaign manager’s assertion that she may win delegates in a few states.
“Haley wants voters to have a choice, but given your resources, why give up that fight after only a few states have cast ballots?” stated Alex Conant, a Republican consultant who oversaw Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign’s messaging. “No presidential candidate in history has abandoned a campaign when they are raising enormous sums of money.”
Haley has also brought up Trump’s legal issues more and more during the campaign. Although Haley has not stated that her continued candidacy is because to his numerous indictments, she has made an effort to persuade voters that she is doing so in order to avoid the turmoil and financial strain that would come with having him as the party’s nominee.
According to Republican strategist Rob Stutzman, who is headquartered in California, “there is a theory that she is gaining delegates so that if something were to happen to Trump – via age, health, or criminal conviction – she would then be the candidate that controlled some delegates at the convention.”
Like many others, Stutzman predicted that Trump would emerge as the nominee from the primary, but he also argued in favor of allowing the process to unfold.
He said, “As long as she can continue to fund a campaign, why not let people vote?”
Haley’s personality is another aspect influencing her decision to continue in the race. The former governor frequently discusses how she was underappreciated during her career, and people who know her well note that she has a distinct perspective on ascents.
Rob Godfrey, a close assistant to Governor Haley, stated, “People think of Nikki like a traditional politician, and that’s what they get wrong: that is not how Nikki thinks.”
Godfrey predicted that Haley will not give up after South Carolina, particularly if the margin is comparable to that of New Hampshire, where she was defeated by an 11-point margin.
“She is not going anywhere other than the next state on the calendar if she shows a number that keeps donors, reporters, and voters interested—a number in the mid-40s would do,” he declared.