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Haley vows to fight on but Michigan defeat will hurt

Nikki Haley has vowed to fight on despite a disappointing defeat in the Michigan primary

Nikki Haley has vowed to continue fighting for the Republican nomination after succumbing to a sixth successive primary loss in Michigan on Tuesday evening.

Haley achieved only 26% of the vote in the swing state, a figure that will come as a disappointment to a senator hoping to lose narrowly if not win outright.

Larry Sabato, a political analyst at the University of Virginia, said the result was "below expectations" for Ms Haley who had lost with numbers closer to 50% in previous primaries.


The final remaining challenger to Donald Trump’s crowning as the Republican nominee had vowed to fight on after losing her home state of South Carolina, a primary widely seen as a crossroads in the race due to her two terms as Governor.

Speaking after the defeat, where she gained 40% of the vote, Haley said: “I know 40% is not 50%, but I also know 40% is not some tiny group.

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

Her tenacity to continue the fight is admirable and in any other nomination race, she would likely have read the writing on the wall and withdrawn, but this is no ordinary contest.

Haley is well aware that a lot could change between now and November’s election, given the mounting legal troubles threatening the Trump campaign.

Holding on and rolling with the punches might prove to be short-term pain for long term gain, should the former president be knocked out of the race by other means.

Additionally, there is awareness within the Haley campaign that the votes that she is winning are not simply by people who would prefer her to take on the Democrats, but they are by people who would vote for anybody but Trump and this is crucial.

Given the likely Democrat nominee, President Joe Biden, is facing his own popularity battle within his party, there is a strategic awareness that the number of voters who would be tempted by an alternative choice to the 2020 reshow would make up a substantial proportion of the electorate.

Her continued challenge to Trump’s assumption of the nomination has been a source of irritation to the former Apprentice host, most notably for the fact that her ongoing participation diverts funds away from the Trump campaign and into hers.

His ongoing legal troubles are leaving a black hole in campaign spending, with $4.8 million dollars being spent in January on top of the $50 million paid on lawyer fees in 2023, FEC reports show.

There is suspicion from the Haley campaign that Trump intends to pressure the Republican National Committee (RNC) to contribute to these legal fees, with Haley calling for an on the record vote that would prevent it from doing so.

Suspicions have been further raised by the Trump campaign’s attempts to install his daughter-in-law Lara Trump into a top job within the RNC.

The Haley campaign has financial worries of its own, with Americans for Prosperity, headed up by billionaires Charles and David Koch, pulling its funding following the South Carolina defeat.

Other backers have not yet publicly withdrawn but continued defeats, especially as disappointing as Michigan, increase the chances of them doing so.

Whilst Haley’s refusal to bend the knee is commendable and her defiance in the face of defeat laudable, it is high time that she turns narrow defeats into victories and her performance at next weeks Super Tuesday will likely determine when Trump clinches the nomination.

The Trump campaign believes that they can exceed the 1,215 delegate threshold as soon as March 12 when Georgia, Washington, Mississippi and Hawaii stage their primaries.

Featured Image: Gage Skidmore (Wikimedia Commons)


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