Trump Wins South Carolina Primary

Former US President Donald Trump won South Carolina’s Republican primary on Saturday, easily beating former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley in her home state and further consolidating his path to a third straight GOP nomination.

 

According to the Associated Press, Trump has now swept every contest that counted for Republican delegates, adding to previous wins in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Haley is facing growing pressure to leave the race but says she’s not going anywhere despite losing the state where she was governor from 2011 to 2017.

A 2020 rematch between Trump and President Joe Biden is becoming increasingly inevitable.

Haley has vowed to stay in the race through at least the batch of primaries on March 5, known as Super Tuesday, but was unable to dent Trump’s momentum in her home state despite holding far more campaign events and arguing that the indictments against Trump will hamstring him against Biden.

 

The Associated Press declared Trump the winner as polls closed statewide at 7 p.m. That race call was based on an analysis of AP VoteCast, a comprehensive survey of Republican South Carolina primary voters. The survey confirmed the findings of pre-Election Day polls showing

“I have never seen the Republican Party so unified as it is right now,” Trump declared, taking the stage for his victory speech mere moments after polls closed. He added, “You can celebrate for about 15 minutes, but then we have to get back to work.”

South Carolina’s first-in-the-South primary has historically been a reliable bellwether for Republicans. In all but one primary since 1980, the Republican winner in South Carolina has gone on to be the party’s nominee. The lone exception was Newt Gingrich in 2012.

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Trump was dominant across the state, even leading in Lexington County, which Haley represented in the state Legislature.

Many Trump-backing South Carolinians, even some who previously supported Haley during her time as governor, weren’t willing to give her a home-state bump.

 

“She’s done some good things,” Davis Paul, 36, said about Haley as he waited for Trump at a recent rally in Conway. “But I just don’t think she’s ready to tackle a candidate like Trump. I don’t think many people can.”

 

At Haley headquarters on Saturday night, supporters waved her signs in front of a large projection screen showing Trump’s speech, blocking it from view. That, of course, didn’t make the defeat any less crushing.

 

About an hour later, Haley took the stage and said: “What I saw today was South Carolina’s frustration with our country’s direction. I’ve seen that same frustration nationwide.”

 

“I don’t believe Donald Trump can beat Joe Biden,” Haley said, later adding: “I said earlier this week that no matter what happens in South Carolina, I would continue to run. I’m a woman of my word.”

 

She said she plans to head to Michigan for its primary on Tuesday — the last major contest before Super Tuesday. Still, she faces questions about where she might be able to win a contest or be competitive.

 

Trump and Biden are already behaving like they expect to face off in November.

 

Trump and his allies argue Biden has made the U.S. weaker and point to the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan and Russia’s decision to launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

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