Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley said she will stay in the race for the Republican presidential nomination Tuesday even though former President Donald Trump won the party’s New Hampshire primary by a clear margin.
Trump had about 54% of the vote compared to Haley’s 45%, with 56% of the vote counted. That was enough of an advantage for Trump to be named the projected winner.
The win was the second in as many contests for Trump, following last week’s win in the Iowa caucuses, as he seeks to earn a general election rematch with President Joe Biden in November.
Speaking to her supporters late Tuesday, Haley congratulated Trump, saying he earned his win in New Hampshire. But despite Trump’s boasts that the race would be finished after Tuesday’s voting, Haley vowed to continue.
“This race is far from over,” Haley said. “There are dozens of states left to go, and the next one is my sweet state of South Carolina.”
South Carolina is the next major event in the state-by-state nominating contest, and it has a recent history of resurrecting a presidential campaign after Biden’s big win there in 2020 after he faltered in several early voting states.
Trump, addressing his supporters late Tuesday, said Haley “had a very bad night” and cast Haley as too celebratory in her speech.
“This is not your typical victory speech, but let’s not have someone take a victory when she had a very bad night.”
He also pointed to last week’s results in Iowa, after which the second-place finisher, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis dropped out of the race. Haley finished just behind DeSantis, and Trump said Tuesday, “she’s still hanging around.”
Earlier Tuesday, Haley’s campaign vowed she would stay in the race until Super Tuesday, on March 5, when 16 states will vote on the same day. Haley will be hoping she goes into Super Tuesday with momentum from the February 24 South Carolina Republican primary.
New Hampshire Democrats also held a primary election Tuesday, with projections showing a win for Biden even though Biden’s name did not appear on the ballot.
The Democratic Party hoped to move away from having New Hampshire hold the first primary election of the presidential race, preferring to put the southeastern state of South Carolina first this cycle.
But New Hampshire Democrats say state laws require them to hold the first primary, so they went ahead with the vote. Those wishing to back Biden had to write in his name.
Biden’s campaign said Tuesday’s results made it “increasingly clear” the November election will be a rematch of the 2020 vote in which Biden defeated Trump.
“Tonight’s results confirm Donald Trump has all but locked up the GOP nomination, and the election denying, anti-freedom MAGA movement has completed its takeover of the Republican Party,” Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez said in a statement. “Trump is offering Americans the same extreme agenda that has cost Republicans election after election: promising to undermine American democracy, reward the wealthy on the backs of the middle class, and ban abortion nationwide.”
As the presidential race progresses, Trump faces an unprecedented 91 criminal charges across four indictments, with one or more of the cases possibly going to trial in the coming months. Some of his voters, perhaps 15%, have told pollsters they will abandon him if he is convicted of any of the charges and not vote for him in November.
Among the charges against Trump are allegations that he illegally tried to upend his 2020 loss to Biden to stay in power. To this day, he erroneously claims that he was cheated out of reelection by vote-counting fraud although no evidence of irregularities substantial enough to overturn the outcome has been uncovered.
After the state-by-state voting contests are complete, Republicans will formally choose their presidential nominee at their national convention in July, while Democrats hold their national convention in August.