North Charleston— Nikki Haley is hoping to turn her defeats in Iowa and New Hampshire into a gain and prevent a “coronation” of Trump as the 2024 Republican nominee. However, voting in the next states may be difficult.
On Wednesday night in North Charleston, South Carolina, Haley told hundreds of sign-waving followers, “We were thrilled,” calling her second-place New Hampshire performance a success considering her campaign's early lack of support.
We got out there, and we did our thing and we said what we had to say, and then Donald Trump got out there and just threw a temper tantrum,” Haley said, referring to Trump's primary night remarks, in which he insulted her more than after his Iowa victory.
Haley performed better in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary than in the Iowa caucuses a week earlier, where she finished third, considerably behind Trump and just marginally behind Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has since dropped out.
Haley was counting on a strong showing in New Hampshire, where her pitch to independents and moderate Republicans seemed to be working. Trump won by double-digits on Tuesday night, leaving some wondering if she would continue. Haley will speak digitally to Republican voters in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where the caucuses are held Feb. 8, before traveling from New Hampshire to South Carolina.
Haley's Wednesday night event included two goals. It was the South Carolina resident's welcome-home celebration and her campaign launch in the first-in-the-South GOP voting state, which has traditionally influenced the party's choice. Only one South Carolina Republican nominee has lost since 1980.
South Carolina has supported Trump since his 2016 primary triumph solidified his victory. His 2024 candidacy has the support of all but one of the state's U.S. House Republicans, the governor, lieutenant governor, and both senators.
Lindsey Graham, one of those senators, said Wednesday at the U.S. Capitol, praising Haley but predicting her loss in their home state. “I think the primary is over for practical purposes.” Some dozen Trump supporters waved flags and made their presence known outside Haley's event, but from a marked-off zone away from the ballroom door.