Nikki Haley Scores First Victory in DC Republican Primary Amid Trump’s Dominance

Nikki Haley secures her first win in the 2024 campaign by winning the Republican primary in Washington, DC, temporarily halting Donald Trump's dominance. Despite DC's Democratic leanings, Haley captures all 19 delegates, setting the stage for a competitive race.

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Nikki Haley won the Republican primary in the District of Columbia, marking her first victory of the 2024 campaign.

Her triumph on Sunday briefly halts Donald Trump’s sweep of the GOP voting contests, while the former president is expected to gain several hundred more delegates in this week’s Super Tuesday primaries.

Despite her early losses, Haley has stated that she intends to continue in the campaign at least until those elections, though she has failed to pick any primary that she believes she will win. Following her defeat in her home state of South Carolina, Haley remained emphatic that voters in the following states deserved an alternative to Trump, despite his dominance so far in the campaign.

Following the publication of the results by the D.C. Republican Party, the Associated Press pronounced Haley the winner. She won all 19 of the delegates at stake.

“It’s not surprising that Republicans closest to Washington dysfunction are rejecting Donald Trump and all of his chaos,” Haley spokesperson Olivia Perez-Cubas said in a statement, noting that Haley is the first woman to win a Republican primary in history.

Washington is one of the most Democratic areas in the country, with just around 23,000 registered Republicans in the city. In the 2020 general election, Democrat Joe Biden won the district with 92% of the votes.

Trump’s team published a statement immediately after Haley’s election, congratulating her on being dubbed “Queen of the Swamp by the lobbyists and DC insiders that want to protect the failed status quo.”

Haley headlined a rally in the nation’s capital on Friday before returning to North Carolina and a number of states hosting Super Tuesday primaries. Inside a hotel ballroom, she joked with over 100 supporters, “Who says there’s no Republicans in D.C., come on.”

“We’re trying to make sure that we touch every hand that we can and speak to every person,” Haley went on to say.

As Clinton delivered her regular campaign address, attacking Trump for increasing the government budget, one rallygoer said, “He cannot win a general election.” “It’s crazy.” That elicited agreement from Haley, who claims she can deny Biden a second term but Trump cannot.

While campaigning as an ardent conservative, Haley has done better with moderate and independent voters.
According to AP VoteCast, a poll of more than 2,400 voters participating in South Carolina’s Republican primary conducted for AP by NORC at the University of Chicago, four out of ten Haley backers were self-described moderates, compared to 15% for Trump. On the other hand, 8 out of 10 Trump supporters identified as conservative, compared to around half of Haley supporters.

Trump won an unopposed D.C. primary for reelection in 2020, but finished third four years ago, trailing Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Rubio’s victory was one of just three throughout his disastrous 2016 campaign. Other more moderate Republicans, like as Mitt Romney and John McCain, won the city’s primary in 2012 and 2008 before securing the Republican nominee.

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