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Haley suffers key loss in home state primary

Ashleigh Snyder
GOP presidential primary and Clemson alumna Nikki Haley addressed the Clemson community on Tuesday night.

Despite Nikki Haley’s strong campaigning efforts and her legacy in South Carolina, voters denied their former governor any home-field advantage in the state’s GOP primary race on Saturday.

Haley finished more than 20 points behind former President Donald Trump, allowing him to claim all 50 Republican delegates in the winner-take-all election. Trump won 60% of Palmetto State voters, and Haley came in at just under 40% (39.5%), polling worse than her performance in New Hampshire (43%).

The Students for Haley Chapter Chairman, Joshua Reyes, remains optimistic about Haley’s chances of winning the Republican nomination despite the loss in her home state.

“Even then, 40% of the vote is significant, especially since Donald Trump is pretty much running as an incumbent,” he told The Tiger. “Nikki Haley is putting her political future on the line so that we, the American people, can have the opportunity to return to normal and have a country that we can be proud of.”

Although many saw South Carolina as a mustwin for Haley’s campaign, the Clemson University alumna plans to stay in the race.

“I am not giving up this fight,” Haley said to supporters following her defeat on Saturday. “This has never been about me or my political future. We need to beat Joe Biden in November. I don’t believe Donald Trump can beat Joe Biden.”

Haley will have to get through the Michigan primary race on Tuesday before making it to the 16 races of Super Tuesday on March 5, when 874 Republican delegates are at stake.

The former president also addressed his supporters in South Carolina following his triumph, boasting of his success.

“This was a little sooner than we anticipated. It was an ever bigger win than we anticipated,” Trump said following the race. “We got double the number of votes that has ever been received in the great state of South Carolina.”

Trevor Tiedeman, The Chairman of the Clemson College Republicans, which recently endorsed Trump, was not surprised by the results and argued they “humiliated” the former governor.

“As expected, Trump carried South Carolina by 20+ points. Haley was humiliated in her own state,” he told The Tiger. “South Carolina has clearly sent a message, and it’s in favor of Donald Trump.”

Although Haley lost the state as a whole, as well as Pickens, Anderson and Oconee Counties, she had strong representation in Clemson, winning 80% of the votes in the University’s precinct.

Also notable about Haley’s loss is that South Carolina’s primary was open to independents and even Democrats who did not vote in their party’s primary election earlier this month. Haley tends to have an advantage with those two groups over Trump.

In the New Hampshire GOP primary, which allows independents to vote in either party’s election, Haley won those undeclared voters by a wide margin, 65-34%, according to ABC. The Wall Street Journal reported that “Several South Carolina Democrats said they were voting for Nikki Haley to stop Donald Trump on Saturday.”

The next clash between Trump and Haley will be the Michigan GOP primary election set for Feb. 27. As of Sunday, Trump is ahead of Haley by 62 points in Michigan’s latest polls.

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Blake Mauro
Blake Mauro, Editor-in-Chief
Ashleigh Snyder
Ashleigh Snyder, Photo Editor
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