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Trump wins South Carolina primary against Haley in her home state, moves closer to clinching GOP nomination

Former President Donald Trump was quickly projected as the winner of the South Carolina Republican presidential primary over former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley in the 2024 White House race

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Former President Donald Trump has won the South Carolina Republican presidential primary, Fox News Decision Desk projects.

Trump’s rapidly-called victory on Saturday over former U.N. ambassador and former two-term South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley in her home state moves the former president another step closer to clinching the 2024 GOP nomination. 

The Fox News Decision Desk projected Trump’s primary just after polls closed at 7 p.m. ET in the Palmetto State.


“It’s an early evening and a fantastic evening,” Trump told a crowd of supporters gathered at the South Carolina state fairgrounds in Columbia, the state capitol, just minutes after polls closed and he was declared the victor.

“Celebrate for 15 minutes, but then we have to get back to work,” he added, referencing next week’s Michigan primary, and Super Tuesday the following week.

HEAD HERE FOR LIVE FOX NEWS UPDATES ON THE SOUTH CAROLINA GOP PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY

At his final pre-primary rally on Friday, Trump predicted he would have a “gigantic victory.” The massive crowd at the event in Rock Hill, South Carolina numbered roughly 5,000 supporters.

Trump has three times as many delegates as former Haley already, and he will win up to 50 more tonight, according to the Fox News Decision Desk. Haley could not convert her hometown advantage into a win. She told supporters this week that she was not dropping out of the race.

Looking ahead to his all-but-certain general election rematch with President Biden, Trump said “we’re going to show crooked Joe Biden and the radical left Democrats that we are coming like a freight train in November.”

Trump said that the end was near for Haley’s White House bid.

“She’s getting clobbered,” Trump emphasized at a recent rally in North Charleston, S.C., as he pointed to his last remaining major rival for the Republican nomination. “She’s finished.”

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And on Tuesday, at a Fox News town hall in Greenville, S.C,. Trump emphasized that “you’re not supposed to lose your home state. It shouldn’t happen,” before added that “she’s losing it bigly.”

The Trump campaign earlier this week predicted an “ass-kicking in the making in South Carolina” for Haley, and that “the end is near” for her presidential run due to “a very serious math problem” she has in the race to lock up enough delegates to win the 2024 GOP nomination.

TRUMP CAMPAIGN PREDICTS ‘A**-KICKING’ FOR HALEY IN HER HOME STATE, BUT SHE SAYS ‘I REFUSE TO QUIT’

But Haley remained defiant, and addressed the calls for her to drop out in a major speech minutes after the release of the Trump campaign memo.

“Some of you — perhaps a few of you in the media — came here today to see if I’m dropping out of the race. Well, I’m not. Far from it,” said the former two-term South Carolina governor who later served as U.N. ambassador in the Trump administration.

“I refuse to quit. South Carolina will vote on Saturday. But on Sunday, I’ll still be running for president. I’m not going anywhere,” Haley emphasized.

She added that “I have no fear of Trump’s retribution.”

On the campaign trail in the closing days of the South Carolina primary, Haley told supporters that “I will take the bruises. I will take the cuts. This is going to be messy and I’ll take the hurt because I believe nothing good comes easy. Sometimes we have to feel pain to appreciate the blessing.”

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Haley also turned up the volume this month in her verbal attacks on Trump, from his legal entanglements to his controversial comments on NATO, the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and Trump’s mocking her husband — who is overseas on a military tour of duty.

Trump grabbed a majority of the votes last month in Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary victories, and won by a landslide earlier this month in the Nevada and U.S. Virgin Island caucuses.

HALEY ACCUSES TRUMP OF SIDING WITH A DICTATOR AND TYRANT’

Trump only made a handful of stops in South Carolina this month, while Haley campaigned relentlessly. But the final public opinion surveys indicated the former president maintaining a large double-digit lead.

While South Carolina is home to Haley, the former president enjoyed the backing of the state’s governor, nearly the entire congressional delegation and scores of state lawmakers and local officials.

Veteran South Carolina-based Republican consultant Dave Wilson pointed to Trump’s “groundswell” in the state and highlighted the former president’s “ground forces.”

Wilson, who remains neutral in the primary, also noted that “Nikki Haley is reintroducing herself to South Carolina” because “almost a million people have moved into the state since she was governor.”

South Carolina holds open primaries, which means Republicans, independents, and even Democrats could vote in the GOP presidential nominating contest, as long as they didn’t cast a ballot in the Feb. 3 Democratic presidential primary.

TRUMP RUNNING MATE AUDITIONS ON THE SOUTH CAROLINA CAMPAIGN TRAIL

Independents helped fuel Haley’s 43% showing in New Hampshire, where she lost to Trump by 11 points. 

But while independent voters have long played a crucial and influential role in the first-in-the-nation primary, they are much less of a factor in South Carolina’s more conservative electorate, where evangelical voters enjoy prominence in GOP contests.

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Regardless of the results in South Carolina, Haley in recent weeks repeatedly pledged to stay in the Republican presidential nomination race at least through March 5, when 15 states hold contests on Super Tuesday.

“We are focused on every state before us. Now it’s South Carolina on Saturday. Then it will be Michigan [which holds a primary on Tuesday, Feb. 27], then it will be Super Tuesday states and we’ll take it from there,” Haley told Fox News Digital in an interview on Wednesday in North Augusta, S.C. “Our goal is that we’re giving voices a chance to be heard.”

And on Friday, Haley’s campaign announced they were going up with a multi-million dollar national cable ad blitz ahead of Super Tuesday.

Nearly 800 delegates are up for grabs on Super Tuesday, with over 150 at stake over the following two weeks. Among the states holding contests on Super Tuesday are delegate-rich California and Texas, and other big states like Florida, Illinois and Ohio will hold winner-take-all primaries on March 19. Polling in many of those states indicates Trump holding large leads over Haley.

The Trump campaign predicted in their memo that the former president would secure the nomination on March 19, even under a “most-generous model” for Haley.

“Let’s see if it happens,” Haley quickly responded when asked by Fox News what she would do if Trump clinches the nomination next month.

Fox News’ Kirill Clark and Deirdre Heavey contributed to this report

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

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