Instead of going to Nevada, where the next primary contest takes place, Haley is heading back home for a rally in Charleston Wednesday evening after defiantly refusing to drop out of the 2024 primary after an 11-point loss to former President Donald Trump in New Hampshire.
Despite a 30-40 percent polling gap with Trump in South Carolina, the former United Nations ambassador is launching a huge effort to turn out the vote on February 24, which includes a $4 million ad blitz.
Stand For America PAC’s lead strategist Mark Harris dubbed the approximately 10 percent loss in New Hampshire as a victory for Haley – but admitted Wednesday that she will have to close the large polling margin with Trump in South Carolina over the next month.
‘We are the underdog and in South Carolina, we start out behind and we have to close that gap,’ Harris told DailyMail.com during a press call Wednesday morning. ‘That’s the mission of the next month.’
‘But a month is a long time in politics,’ he said. ‘You guys know – who knows what crazy stuffs gonna happen next month?’
Nikki Haley is immediately beginning a campaigning and ad blitz in her home state of South Carolina after her second-place finish in New Hampshire on Tuesday night. Pictured: Haley delivers a concession speech in Concord, New Hampshire with son Nalin, 22 and daughter Rena, 26, and her husband Joshua standing by
A polling average from RealClearPolitics on the Palmetto State’s Republican primary race puts Haley 30 points behind Trump – 52 percent to 21.8 percent. And a FiveThirtyEight average has an even larger gap with nearly 36 percent between the two.
With more than 90 percent of the vote accounted for, Haley finished in second place in New Hampshire’s Tuesday primary with 43.3 percent to Trump’s 54.4 percent.
Harris added in a follow-up on why Haley is not beginning a campaign effort in Nevada now that the western state is a wash because Trump’s team ‘fixed the system’ so the ex-president would receive all the delegates there.
‘You can tell by the fact no one’s really campaigning [in Nevada] – it’s not a contest that people are really, you know, focused on,’ Harris said. ‘I mean, it’s probably unfortunate for democracy that that’s the way that things played out.’
Nevada is holding a primary election on February 6 and then two days later has its caucuses, which the state’s GOP decided will be the contest that allows for allocation of delegates. Since Haley is running in the primary, she cannot receive any delegates from Nevada – while Trump, who is the only Republican left in the caucus, will earn them all.
The dueling primary contests are a result of Nevada’s attempts to switch from a primary caucus to a primary election. But the Nevada GOP is not complying with the efforts and is still holding its caucuses.
To ultimately earn the Republican nomination at the conference later this year, a candidate must earn the most amount of delegates.
Harris conceded that the primary is a race for delegates, but did not elaborate on why Haley has decided not to file for the caucus and instead participate in the delegate-less primary election in Nevada.
Stand For American (SFA) Fund is the main political action committee (PAC) backing Haley’s bid for president. The PAC is soon starting to run ads in South Carolina to make-up ground before the primary election next month on top of Haley’s campaign also running millions in ads over the next month.
Stand For America Fund PAC lead strategist Mark Harris told DailyMail.com during a press call Wednesday morning that Haley is the ‘underdog’ and will focus on making up ground in South Carolina over the next month
Haley has a 7:00 p.m. rally in North Charleston on Wednesday. No other events have been announced yet.
Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump headed back to Florida right after the New Hampshire primary – and will go to Las Vegas for a rally on Saturday.
During her concession speech on Tuesday evening in Concord, New Hampshire, Haley shocked those who predicted she would drop out and said the battle for the GOP nomination was ‘far from over’
The 2024 hopeful was betting on performing better in New Hampshire after a disappointing third place finish in Iowa ‘s caucuses last week – but again came up short.
‘I want to congratulate Donald Trump on his victory – he earned it, and I want to acknowledge that,’ Haley, 52, told supporters at her Election Night rally.
‘You have all heard the chatter among the political class. They are falling all over themselves, saying this race is over. It’s not over!’ she proclaimed.
President Donald Trump used his primary night victory party to rail against Haley for staying in the 2024 presidential race
What was a three-person contest up until over the weekend turned into a one-on-one for the Republican nomination after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis dropped out of the race on Sunday.
Now, Haley and Trump are the only two battling for the Republican nod for the 2024 general election.
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden essentially has the Democratic nomination locked-down with no serious contenders. He even won New Hampshire’s election for Democrats on Tuesday even though he wasn’t on the ballot.
Haley, who is decades younger than Trump and Biden, claims that whichever party ‘retires its 80-year-old candidate’ first, will be the party that wins the 2024 election.
‘New Hampshire is first in the nation – it is not the last in the nation. This race is far from over. There are dozens of states left to go,’ Haley said in her concession speech, adding that ‘the next one is my sweet state of South Carolina.’
With her two children Rena, 26, and Nalin, 22, in the audience, Haley previewed that she’s heading back to South Carolina now – where she hopes to finally clinch a win in her home state.
Trump’s win in New Hampshire proves that even in a state with more moderate Republicans, the former president still has a strong grip on the GOP.
Many Democratic voters in New Hampshire told DailyMail.com that they switched their registration to undecided so they could cast their ballot for Haley in the Republican primary election in hopes to foil Trump’s lead.
Polls just days before the primary on January 23, when DeSantis was still considered, placed Haley in a solid second – but still about 20 percentage points behind Trump.
In the month before the primary, Haley was coming within a single-digit of Trump. One poll taken January 12-15 had Haley and Trump dead even with 40 percent each.
On Tuesday night, Haley brought back into question the issue of age and – in turn – fitness for office.
The 52-year-old brought up Trump’s recent gaffe where he confused Haley with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during rally remarks in New Hampshire. She also repeated her call for mental competency tests for politicians over the age of 75, a qualification that both Trump and Biden meet.
‘Most Americans do not want a rematch between Biden and Trump,’ she said in her concession speech in Concord on Tuesday.
‘The first party to retire its 80-year-old candidate is going to win this election,’ she added. ‘I say it should be the Republicans!’
Haley said that if Trump thinks he’s mentally fit, there should be ‘no problem standing on a debate stage’ to go head-to-head in the narrowed-down primary race.
Trump has refused to participate in any primary debates so far – but Haley is hoping to entice him now that the field only consists of them.