Republican Primary: Trump Tighten Grip On Nomination, Haley Stays In Race (Ld)


(MENAFN- IANS) Washington, Feb 25 (IANS) Former US President Donald Trump tightened his grip on the Republican nomination for the White House defeating Nikki Haley, former UN ambassador and the only other candidate in the field, by a crushing margin in the South Carolina primaries. But he did not achieve what he wants so desperately now -- end this race and pivot to the race against his general election rival President Joe Biden.

Trump has taken an unassailable lead in the Republican primaries and is all but certain to be the Republican nominee unless he is convicted in some of the criminal cases going on against him. His exit from the race, if it comes to that, will throw the race into a tizzy. If Haley is still around at that stage she could stake claim to the nomination as the only candidate standing, but the party may want to go with someone else.

Trump did not name Haley in his victory speech on Saturday and talked about unity in the Republican party and restoring global respect for America, which is a theme that he taps often, along with shutting the border to migrants.

Haley made clear in her speech, she is not giving up.“I said earlier this week that no matter what happens in South Carolina, I would continue to run. I'm a woman of my word,” she said.“I'm not giving up this fight when a majority of Americans disapprove of both Donald Trump and Joe Biden.”

South Carolina was touted as a make-or-break contest for Haley being her home state, where she was born, raised and became a politician and two-term Governor. A defeat in the home state would be fatal to her campaign, it was said. And acutely conscious of the talk, Haley had said before that she would stay in the race no matter what happened in the primaries tonight.

The votes were still being counted at the time of this report. Trump was ahead with about 59 per cent of the votes polled and Haley was at around 40 per cent.“I'm an accountant,” she said.“I know 40 per cent is not 50 per cent but I also know 40 per cent is not some tiny group.”

Haley's long-shot campaign survived the night, but the question everyone's asking is how long can she hold on; more importantly, how long will donors continue to put money into her election effort despite dismal outcomes in the primaries. She continues to raise huge sums of money and she out-raised the former president last month.

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