Home » Nikki Haley Vows To Push On After Better-Than-Expected Finish

Nikki Haley Vows To Push On After Better-Than-Expected Finish

CONCORD, N.H. – Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley vowed to push on with her presidential campaign Tuesday, using some of her toughest language to date against former President Donald Trump after finishing in a closer-than-expected second place in the New Hampshire primary.

“New Hampshire is the first in the nation. It is not the last in the nation,” she told a conference center ball room packed with hundreds of her supporters. “This race is far from over. There are dozens of states left to go. And the next one is my sweet state of South Carolina.”

The most recent public polls had suggested the former president would beat Haley by 16 to 18 percentage points, with a tracking poll predicting a 22-point margin.

Haley, with more than of the vote left to count, took the stage shortly after 8 p.m. to spin the 10-12 point loss that exit polls and vote counts to that point were showing as a strong performance that would let her stay in the race.

“Today we got close to half of the vote. We still have a ways to go, but we keep moving up,” she said, pointing out that last summer, there were 14 candidates running, with Haley at 2%. “Well, I’m a fighter. And I’m scrappy. And now we’re the last ones standing next to Donald Trump.”

Haley, as she has in recent days, continued hitting Trump for a recent rally during which he claimed she had been in charge of Capitol security during his Jan. 6, 2021, coup attempt — apparently confusing her for former Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

She said Trump keeps bragging about his performance on cognitive tests, but if he truly believes his claims, “then he should have no problem standing on a debate stage with me.”

Haley then argued that Republicans need to move on from Trump because he is a repeatedly-proven loser. “With Donald Trump, Republicans have lost almost every competitive election. We lost the Senate. We lost the House. We lost the White House. We lost in 2018. We lost in 2020, and we lost in 2022,” she said. “With Donald Trump, you have one round of chaos after another. This court case, that controversy, this tweet, that senior moment.”

Haley, though, failed to address Trump’s actions leading up to and on Jan. 6, when a mob of his followers assaulted the Capitol to help Trump carry out his plan to coerce then-Vice President Mike Pence and Congress into awarding Trump a second term, even though he had lost reelection. Trump now faces two felony indictments related to those efforts.

Instead, she framed the contrast as one elderly candidate against another in Democratic President Joe Biden. “The first party to retire its 80-year-old candidate is going to be the party that wins its election. And I think it should be the Republicans who win this election.”

Haley has scheduled a rally in Charleston Wednesday evening. South Carolina’s Republican primary is on Feb. 24.

“South Carolina voters won’t want a coronation. They want an election, we are going go give them one,” she said.


January 2024