Election 2024: Trump wins South Carolina primary; Haley staying in race

South Carolina primary

Former President Donald Trump continued to steamroll toward the 2024 Republican presidential nomination on Saturday, defeating former Gov. Nikki Haley in the South Carolina primary.

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Within a minute of the polls closing in South Carolina at 7 p.m. EST, The Associated Press and The New York Times projected that Trump would defeat Haley in the primary election.

Haley will stay in race: ‘I am a woman of my word’

Update 8:40 p.m. EST Feb. 24: Nikki Haley thanked her family and supporters at her headquarters in Charleston, South Carolina, adding that she will remain in the race for the Republican nomination.

“I am a woman of my word,” Haley told her supporters. “I am not giving up this fight when a majority of Americans disapprove of both Donald Trump and Joe Biden.”

Haley greeted her supporters, telling them, “Y’all are a rowdy bunch.”

She congratulated former President Donald Trump on his victory, but said “America will come apart if we make the wrong decision.”

Haley conceded that 40% of the vote was “not 50%,” but added that 40% was not a “tiny group.”

“In the next 10 days, another 21 states and territories will speak,” Haley said, referencing Super Tuesday on March 5. “They have the right to a real choice, not a Soviet-style election with only one candidate.

“And I have a duty to give them that choice.”

Original report: Trump has won all of the Republican contests in the early states so far, adding South Carolina to victories in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and the U.S. Virgin Islands, CBS News reported.

“A even bigger win than we anticipated,” Trump told a cheering crowd at his headquarters in the state’s capital city of Columbia. “I have never seen the Republican Party so unified as it is right now.”

Both U.S. senators from South Carolina -- Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham -- along with Gov. Henry McMaster, spoke during Trump’s victory speech.

There were 50 delegates at stake in South Carolina. Twenty-nine were awarded to Trump, and each of the state’s seven voting districts had three delegates each at stake.

Trump now has at least 92 delegates, while Haley has 17. A candidate needs 1,215 delegates to secure the Republican nomination for president.

The candidates will now focus their attention on Super Tuesday on March 5.

Haley will travel to Michigan on Sunday and has planned stops in several states before Super Tuesday, the Times reported. Approximately 36% of Republican delegates will be up for grabs that day.

Haley vowed before the election to continue in her quest for the nomination, even if she lost her home state by a large margin to Trump.

Saturday’s GOP primary was open to any of the state’s 3.1 million registered voters who did not participate in the Feb. 3 Democratic presidential primary, The State newspaper of Columbia reported. Only 131,472 people voted in the non-competitive primary won by President Joe Biden, according to the newspaper.

Haley, a former two-term governor in South Carolina, voted early on Saturday in her hometown of Kiawah Island.

During the two weeks of early voting, 205,099 people cast ballots, including 39,804 on Thursday, which was the final day, The State reported.

Trump’s success in South Carolina was based on the widespread support of the state’s evangelical pastors, activists and top political figures, The Washington Post reported. That happened despite Haley crisscrossing the state and outspending the former president, according to the newspaper.

“I’m real proud of what Nikki Haley has done,” Katon Dawson, a top Haley adviser in South Carolina, told the Post. “Donald Trump knows how to bottle anger and sell it. Nikki Haley knows how to bottle optimism and hope. It’s easier to sell hate so it’s an uphill battle.”

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