Despite defeats, Nikki Haley vows to prevent Trump from being ‘crowned’ as presidential candidate

Despite losing Iowa and New Hampshire to Donald Trump, Nikki Haley is trying to frame those losses as a victory and vows to avoid a Trump “coronation” like Republican candidate for 2024. However, the road through the upcoming voting states may not be any easier.

“The political class wanted us to believe this race was over before it even started,” Haley posted Tuesday night on X, after a speech in which she signaled she was far from willing to give ground. “You proved them wrong and I am very grateful.”

Haley performed better in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary than she did in the Iowa caucuses a week earlier, where she finished third, well behind Trump and only slightly behind Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has since closed his campaign.

But Haley had been banking on a staunch performance in New Hampshire, a state where her attempt to appeal to independents and more moderate-leaning Republicans appeared to take root. Trump still won by double digits Tuesday night, leaving some wondering if she would continue.

Haley has claimed she will do just that, speaking virtually to Republican voters in the United States Virgin Islandswho hold their caucuses on February 8, before flying from New Hampshire to South Carolina, where they have planned an evening rally.

Wednesday night’s event serves two purposes for Haley. It’s a welcome gathering for the South Carolina resident and an opening to her campaign in the GOP’s first voting state in the South, which has historically been influential in determining the party’s nominee. Since 1980, only one winner of the Republican elections of South Carolina has lost the nomination.

Since his victory in the 2016 primaries helped cement Trump’s dominance In that year’s race, South Carolina has remained loyal to him. For the 2024 campaign, he has the endorsement of all but one Republican in the state House of Representatives, as well as the governor, lieutenant governor and both U.S. senators.

“Trump is in a dominant position in South Carolina,” one of those senators, Lindsey Graham, said Wednesday at the U.S. Capitol, praising Haley’s effort but predicting her loss in her home state. “I think, for all practical purposes, the primaries are over.”

Before the vote in New Hampshire, The super PAC supporting Haley’s candidacy was quick to point out that President Joe Biden, the Democrat she hopes to face in the general election, had been unsuccessful in the early contests of his 2020 bid but ultimately won the nomination.

That comparison, however, does not take into account the fact that black voters drove Biden’s ultimate victory once he reached the South, a factor that is not expected to weigh much in the Republican primaries.

However, during a call with reporters on WednesdayMark Harris, chief strategist of that super PAC, SFA, He insisted that Haley “has a path” to the Republican nomination, regardless of Trump’s first two victories.

By presenting South Carolina as the next “battleground” of the campaign in the direct confrontation between Trump and Haley (the caucuses of the Nevada Republican Party is February 8, but Trump has already claimed victory there because Haley is not running), Harris noted that her open primary means that any Democrats who choose not to participate in their party’s February 3 race can choose to support Haley in the February 24 vote.

“We are going to do everything we can to encourage conservative and Republican-leaning independents to vote in the primary,” Harris said, noting that the super PAC would join the campaign to spend “millions of dollars” on television ads. in South Carolina over the next month, also sending mailers, knocking on doors and doing other outreach.

When asked about conversations with donors after the New Hampshire results, Harris said the group was confident it would have the necessary resources.

“Our donors have been in this for a long time,” Harris said. “Our strategy was to reduce the field to two in South Carolina”. He said he was encouraged by the enthusiasm he was seeing.

“People are excited and I am very confident that we will have the resources we need to continue fighting.”