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Tags: nikkihaley | donaldtrump | southcarolina | primary

Haley Relies on Dems, 'Never Trumpers' to Close S.C. Gap

By    |   Monday, 19 February 2024 01:50 PM EST

Despite criticism from the Republican Party and former President Donald Trump and his campaign, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has continued to try to secure her party's nomination for president.

She has an unlikely ally in Democrats in her bid to close the gap on daunting polling numbers in her own home state.

The state is an open primary, but with President Joe Biden having already attempted to move the Democrat primary to the head of the line, anyone who did not vote in the Biden primary earlier this month can cast a vote Saturday in the Republican primary.

Just 131,000 voted in the Biden-pushed first-in-the-nation Democrat primary out of the state's 3.2 million voters — and 104,000 have already early voted in the GOP primary — The State reported Monday, aiding the big Democrat and anti-Trump super PAC money pouring in to try to stop Trump in what could be the last contested GOP primary before March's Super Tuesday all but declares Trump the 2024 nominee.

The money pouring in for Haley in her home state might be all but wasted, according to Insider Advantage pollster Matt Towery, whose latest numbers have the closest race in the state's polls (60%-38%).

"Her numbers are a bit stronger than expected due to a robust, but underreported, effort by PACs and others to recruit Democrats who did not participate in the Democrat primary, along with independents, to vote in the GOP contest," Towery said. "Our survey indicates that this effort may have some impact but will be unlikely to provide any major boost for Haley."

Haley is doing well among the early South Carolina primary voters, according to a Citadel poll, but there are an estimated 1 million expected to vote in Saturday's primary, exceeding the 745,000 that voted in the 2016 GOP presidential primary, The State reported.

"President Trump is absolutely correct when he says Nikki Haley is relying on liberals and Democrats to infiltrate because that's who she appeals to," Trump spokesman Steven Cheung said in a statement last month.

Haley admits she needs to pull in Democrats and independents, making the case it is a path to beating Biden in the general election.

"What we say is, 'Do you want something different in our country?' " Haley said last month. "I'm going to continue doing that. If we get Republicans that's what I'm shooting for. I welcome that. If we get independents, I welcome that. If we get Reagan-Democrats that want to come in, I'm gonna take it.

"This is about the fact that we need to make the choices. You can have two 80-year-olds running for president, which 70% of the country doesn't want, or you can say in a general [election] you're given a choice. In a primary you make the choice."

The message is sent to the big anti-Trump donors, including Stand For America, Inc., which is airing ads on CNN to call for Democrats and independents to vote for Haley to "end the chaos," according to The State.

"You sick of washed-off failures who won't go away, had enough of the scandals, the insults, the lawsuits and the drama," the ad says. "Tired of the rage-filled rants and tweets, ready to make it all go away?"

The ad mentions no candidate, but is a clear appeal to those who do not want to vote for Biden or Trump.

Even Democrat-PACs like PrimaryPivot pushed for Democrats to not vote for Biden on Feb. 3, so they could bank their voting privileges for Saturday's GOP primary, according to The State.

"I will sleep very well at night if I know there are two candidates that respect democracy and respect our Constitution that are running against each other," PrimaryPivot co-founder Robert Schwartz told The State. "Our democracy will be secure, and if we spent the last nine years as Democrats saying the most important thing to us is preserving our democracy, and if Donald Trump is a unique threat to our democracy, then we should be trying to stop him at every turn that we can.

"Would you rather have 100% chance of preserving our democracy, or a 50% coin toss chance of an autocracy in January 2025? That's how we should be voting."

Independents Moving the Needle's Brian Wynne is pressing the anti-Trump vote with the 60% of the registered voters usually not inclined to vote in the primary, too.

"There's a huge number of people that stay home and are disinterested in primaries," Wynne told The State, adding, "1 million of them could be pulled out to vote for Haley.

"We don't need to make a case to these people 'you should support Nikki Haley,' because by and large they'll do that on their own, we just need to convince these people to show up."

Eric Mack

Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Despite criticism from the Republican Party and former President Donald Trump and his campaign, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has continued to try to secure her party's nomination for president.
nikkihaley, donaldtrump, southcarolina, primary
Monday, 19 February 2024 01:50 PM
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