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Trump Soundly Defeats Nikki Haley in South Carolina and Michigan Republican Primaries

Published: February 28, 2024
Donald Trump gestures to supporters as Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) looks on during an election night watch party at the State Fairgrounds on Feb. 24, 2024 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Image: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Donald Trump walked away with two more Republican primary wins over the past week, defeating his only remaining opponent, Nikki Haley, in her home state of South Carolina and a few days later securing a resounding win in Michigan.

In South Carolina Trump garnered a commanding 60 percent of the vote compared to Haley’s 40 percent and in Michigan, with almost 99 percent of the vote counted, Trump received 68.2 percent of the vote compared to Haley’s 26.5 percent.

With these two most recent wins Trump is on track to easily secure the Republican nomination months before the party’s summer convention this year which will be held in Milwaukee.

Despite losing every single primary election to Trump, Haley insists she will remain in the race until at least through Super Tuesday. 

Super Tuesday — to be held on March 5 this year — is traditionally one of the most important political dates on the calendar, when 15 states and one territory will hold primaries and caucuses.

It’s on Super Tuesday when the most delegates are at stake and a good performance on Super Tuesday can all but guarantee a nomination.


South Carolina highlights

On Feb. 24, in South Carolina, the race was immediately called by the Associated Press the moment the polls closed at 7pm ET, handing Trump a win and Haley a humiliating defeat in her home state. 

“I just want to say that I have never seen the Republican party so unified as it is right now. This is a fantastic evening. It’s an early evening, and fantastic,” Trump told his supporters after learning of his victory. 

Trump has won primaries in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, easily beating his other opponents, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and political whiz Vivek Ramaswamy, who all bowed out and endorsed Trump. 

Despite four straight loses, Haley told supporters in Charleston that she will continue to battle it out for the nomination, insisting that Trump will be unable to defeat Biden this November. 

“What I saw today was South Carolina’s frustration with our country’s direction. I’ve seen that same frustration nationwide. I share it. I feel it to my core. I said earlier this week that no matter what happens in South Carolina, I will continue to run for president. I’m a woman of my word,” Haley told her supporters. 

On Feb. 23, Haley’s campaign announced that it was launching a “seven-figure” national cable and digital buy ahead of Super Tuesday while her opponents insist that she has no pathway to victory.

“The fact is that Haley’s campaign has now turned into a full-fledged Never Trump operation with her as Crooked Joe Biden’s biggest surrogate. The primary ends tonight, and it is time to turn to the general election,” Steven Cheung, a Trump campaign spokesperson said on Saturday just before the polls closed.  


Michigan highlights

On Feb. 27 in Michigan, Trump easily won and didn’t even bother showing up, instead calling in to the GOP election night watch party in Grand Rapids, saying that the night’s results were “far greater than anticipated.”

“We have a very simple task: We have to win on Nov. 5 and we’re going to win big. We win Michigan, we win the whole thing,” Trump said. 

Haley’s insistence on remaining in the race is giving some Republicans still wary of Trump an opportunity for a protest vote, but not much else.  

President Joe Biden also walked away with a win in Michigan on Tuesday however it was marred by a significant protest vote. 

Over 100,000 Michigan voters chose “uncommitted” on their ballots, accounting for over 13 percent of all Democrat votes cast.

The votes were in protest of the Biden administration’s ongoing support of Israel in its conflict with the terrorist organization, Hamas. 

Voter turnout for both the Republican and Democrat primaries was significantly lower than recent years with just 1.8 million Michiganders voting compared to 2.3 million in 2020 and nearly 2.6 million in 2016. 

Concerning the delegate count, Biden is expected to pick up 111 of the possible 117 delegates in Michigan and Trump walked away with only 16 of the 55 possible delegates on Tuesday, the remainder of which will be allocated based on district caucuses results this Saturday.

Between now and Super Tuesday on March 5, Trump and Haley will be battling it out in the District of Columbia on March 3, and in North Dakota on March 4.