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Nikki Haley vows to stay in race heading to home state South Carolina

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Despite losing yesterday’s critical New Hampshire primary, Nikki Haley remains optimistic in securing the GOP nomination as the race heads to her home state of South Carolina.

Catch up: Haley lost to former President Donald Trump by 11 points (43.3% to 54.3%) in New Hampshire, whose electorate was closely divided between Republicans and undeclared voters. The former U.N. ambassador, who is running on relatively more moderate policies than her former boss, sought to sway more of the latter but still fell short of the numbers.

The New Hampshire primary followed last week’s Iowa caucus, which Trump won by 51%. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who subsequently exited the race, came second at 21.2%, while Haley came third at 19.1%.

What she said: Haley, now the only candidate standing between Trump and the GOP nomination, vowed to stay in the race despite yesterday’s loss. In her post-election speech, she stressed that New Hampshire was only the first in the nation’s primaries — declaring that the race is “far from over” — and highlighted the growth of her campaign.

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“At one point in this campaign, there were 14 of us running, and we were at 2% in the polls,” she said. “Well I’m a fighter, I’m scrappy and now we’re the last one standing next to Donald Trump. And today we got close to half of the vote. We still have ways to go, but we keep moving up.”

What Trump said: Haley’s refusal to concede infuriated Trump, who used his victory speech to assert that she “failed badly,” take a jab at her “fancy dress” and put former rival South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott — who now endorses him — in the spotlight, saying he “must really hate” her. Haley appointed Scott to the U.S. senate in 2012 when she was still the state’s governor.

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Before taking the stage, Trump also made scathing posts presumably directed at Haley on Truth Social. In one such post, he wrote, “DELUSIONAL!!!”

What’s next: Haley faces immense pressure in the next four weeks leading up to the South Carolina primary, with observers saying she now has to convince donors that she remains a viable candidate. As of Jan. 24, Trump holds a wide lead over Haley in the Palmetto State (62.5% to 25%), according to polls analyzed by ABC’s FiveThirtyEight.

 

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