Trump expected to move closer to clinching GOP presidential nomination with likely big win over Haley in SC

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Former President Donald Trump predicts the end is near for rival Nikki Haley.”She’s getting clobbered,” Trump emphasized at a recent rally in North Charleston, South Carolina, as he touted his formidable lead over Haley in Saturday’s Republican presidential primary in the Palmetto State. “She’s finished.””You’re not supposed to lose your home state. It shouldn’t happen,” Trump added Tuesday at a Fox News town hall in Greenville. “She’s losing it bigly.”The expected win in South Carolina would move Trump a step closer to clinching the Republican nomination, and his campaign, in a memo earlier this week, argued that Haley’s White House bid will end “fittingly, in her home state.”HALEY ON WHETHER TRUMP WILL WIN THE NOMINATION NEXT MONTH: ‘LET’S SEE IF IT HAPPENS’The Trump campaign predicted an “a**-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, the last major Trump challenger for the nomination left standing, remains defiant.”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,” the former two-term South Carolina governor who later served as U.N. ambassador in the Trump administration said in a major speech minutes after the release of the Trump campaign memo.”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.And she added that “I have no fear of Trump’s retribution.”On the campaign trail in the closing days, Haley told her supporters, “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.”Haley has also turned up the volume this month in her verbal attacks on Trump, from his legal entanglements to his controversial comments on NATO and the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, as well as his mocking of her husband, who is overseas on a military tour of duty.Trump grabbed a majority of the votes in Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary victories in January, and won by a landslide earlier this month in the Nevada and U.S. Virgin Island caucuses, as he moves toward locking up the nomination.HALEY ACCUSES TRUMP OF SIDING WITH ‘A DICTATOR AND A TYRANT’ AS SHE BLASTS HIM OVER LACK OF PUTIN CRITICISMTrump has only made a handful of stops in South Carolina this month, while he has campaigned relentlessly. But the final polls indicate the former president maintains a very large double-digit lead.While South Carolina is home to Haley, the former president enjoys 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.”But pointing to her undefeated electoral record, Wilson said, “Never underestimate Nikki Haley. Never count Nikki Haley out.”South Carolina holds an open primary, which means Republicans, independents and even Democrats can 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 TRAILIndependents 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.Regardless of the results in South Carolina, Haley has 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 will hold its primary on Tuesday], 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.”On Friday, Haley’s campaign announced it was going up with a 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, while 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 its 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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