SC GOP Primary Closes With Decided Victor

With the victory in South Carolina’s GOP primary, former president Donald Trump is in a stronger position to secure the nomination for president in 2024. 

The victory was announced shortly after the polls closed at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday night. 

The former president took another step toward securing the GOP nomination for 2024 with his victory over Nikki Haley, a retired United Nations ambassador and two-term governor of South Carolina, in her home state.

A better showing than projected by the polls put Haley on course to finish with almost 40% of the vote. She received approximately 43% of the vote in New Hampshire last month. In a post-election message to her followers, Haley—who received around 40% of the vote on Saturday, compared to Trump’s 60%—vowed to keep running. Voters in the Republican primaries in both states may have favored Haley due to moderates or Democrats who aimed to derail Trump’s candidacy.

Edison Research conducted exit polls in South Carolina and found that voters who had never voted in a Republican primary previously favored Haley. Even among moderates who identified as such, 69% voted for her. It implies that Trump still has many Republican and independent votes to win over if he wants to beat Biden in the general election. So yes, Trump hasn’t shown much interest in courting them.

It would appear that Haley is content to run as an independent candidate. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio promptly withdrew under somewhat embarrassing circumstances in 2016 after Trump humiliated him in Florida, his home territory. However, Haley does not share this worry. On the campaign trail in South Carolina, she has repeatedly stated that she is not seeking a position in the president’s cabinet or any other similar position.

Following his victory in South Carolina, Trump has five consecutive nomination battles: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Haley, who rose to political prominence in the Deep South state during her six years as governor, must feel particularly frustrated by Saturday’s outcome.