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Nikki Haley to exit GOP presidential race Wednesda...
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Nikki Haley to exit GOP presidential race Wednesday

Nikki Haley

 

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Halley will announce Wednesday that she is exiting the Republican presidential race, according to sources familiar with her plans, clearing the path for former President Donald Trump.

She is expected to deliver remarks in Charleston, South Carolina, at 10 am ET, following a serires of losses in GOP nominating contests on Super Tuesday.

Haley is not expected to endorse Trump, the sources familiar with her plans tell CNN. Instead, she will call on the former president to earn the support of voters who backed her. The plan appears to leave the room for her to endorse Trump ahead of the general election in November.

Haley, who was Trump’s US ambassador to the United Nations, was the last of a dozen major candidates the former president vanquished in a GOP primary that he dominated from start to finish — including winning 14 of the 15 GOP contests on Tuesday – even as he skipped the party’s debates and maintained a much lighter schedule of early-state travel than all of his rivals.

Haley had vowed to stay in the race through at least Super Tuesday. She had also begun sharpening her attacks on Trump, questioning his mental fitness and lumping him together with President Joe Biden, the likely Democratic nominee, as one of two “grumpy old men.”

But her home state of South Carolina served as her fourth straight loss in 2024 – including one to “none of these candidates” in the Nevada primary, where Trump wasn’t competing and there were no delegates at stake. (He opted to participate instead in the party-run caucuses, which awarded delegates.)

Haley had little hope of keeping pace with the former president with the race shifting into a new gear, moving from early-state contests in which retail politics take center stage to a national race with 56% of the party’s delegates due to be awarded by March 12 — most of them in winner-take-all contests.

Still, in her campaign, Haley became the first Republican woman to win two primary contests: Vermont and the District of Columbia. The wins prevented Trump from being able to say that he shut out Haley in every state, but the victories were not enough to award her with a significant delegate count.

An uphill battle

The former South Carolina governor’s exit demonstrated how little Republican voters were swayed by arguments about electability — with the party’s base remaining loyal to Trump, who has falsely claimed he lost the 2020 election due to widespread fraud, despite general election polls showing that Haley was in much stronger position against Biden.

“I have never seen the Republican Party so unified as it is right now,” Trump told supporters at his election night party in South Carolina.

After Trump won more than 50% of the vote in Iowa, where Haley placed a distant third, members of the Republican Party quickly consolidated around the former president and endorsed him. Former 2024 candidates, including biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, campaigned with Trump on the eve of the New Hampshire primary. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis also took a parting shot at Haley as he exited the field, calling her platform “a repackaged form of warmed-over corporatism.” - CNN

 

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