Nikki Haley defiantly resisting mounting demands for her to drop out of GOP primary race that Trump will ultimately win

 February 4, 2024

It has been clear for quite some time that former President Donald Trump will be the 2024 Republican nominee, and all but one of Trump's GOP primary challengers for that nomination, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, have acceded to that reality and bowed out of the race.

There are growing demands for Haley to drop out like the others, but she has been steadfast in her refusal to do so, Fox News reported last week.

Haley's defiant stance comes as Trump won decisive victories in the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire primary, and maintains commanding leads in virtually every other state and territory where GOP primary voters have yet to cast a ballot.

RNC chair McDaniel urges Haley to drop out

Last week, following the New Hampshire election, Semafor reported that Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel took the unusual step of disregarding her supposed neutrality in the GOP primary race and seemed to openly call for Haley to end her futile campaign for the party's presidential nomination.

"I’m looking at the map and the path going forward and I don’t see it for Nikki Haley," McDaniel said in a Fox News interview. "I think she has run a great campaign, but I do think there is a message that is coming out from the voters, which is very clear: We need to unite around our eventual nominee, which is going to be Donald Trump. And we need to make sure we beat Joe Biden."

However, Haley made it clear then -- and has since doubled down -- that she was rejecting those calls for her to step aside and instead planned to remain in the race for the foreseeable future, potentially up to the RNC's nominating convention in the summer.

"I'm not going anywhere," Haley says

On Wednesday, Haley appeared on CNN's "The Lead" with Jake Tapper and was asked directly, "Did you think it was inappropriate when the RNC chair, Ronna McDaniel, suggested that you need to drop out because she didn't see a path for you?"

"I absolutely think it was inappropriate," Haley replied. "We have had two states that have voted. You need 1,215 delegates. Donald Trump has 32. I have 17. We still have 48 states and more territories to go before we get there."

"I'm not going anywhere, Jake," she continued. "I'm going to continue to go all the way through South Carolina. Then we're going to go on to Super Tuesday, and we're going to keep on going forward."

Pressed by Tapper on her commitment to keeping her candidacy going, Haley predicted that she would "close that gap" in South Carolina, the state where she previously served as governor, and would "build on momentum" in the states after that, and ultimately insisted, "I'm going to stay in this for the long haul, because I think it's important and I know that we need to get this done."

Haley losing badly in the polls

Sticking around in hopes of somehow surpassing Trump for the GOP nomination seems like wishful thinking for Haley, particularly in light of how dominant the former president's position has been and continues to be in the various polls.

According to RealClearPolling's average of national primary polls, Trump currently garners around 73.5% support from Republican voters and boasts a nearly 55-point lead over Haley, who draws about 18.8% support from the same pool of voters.

Even in her home state of South Carolina, which likely represents one of the former governor's best opportunities to snatch a win away from Trump, Haley trails the former president by approximately 27 points, as Trump has the support of 53.7% of the state's GOP voters right now compared to 26.7% for Haley.

To be sure, there are no rules or mechanisms in place to force Haley to end her almost certainly unwinnable candidacy, save for increased public pressure, but that pressure will undoubtedly grow even more intense as her campaign drags on and Haley risks potential political consequences if she continues to defy the clear majority opinion of her party.

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