Trump and Haley compete on Saturday in an important primary in South Carolina – Jornal OPaís

Donald Trump and Nikki Haley face each other on Saturday in the Republican primaries in South Carolina, a state that is especially important for the former ambassador to the UN and which could dictate the future of her race for the US presidential election.

Saturday’s elections will be the first head-to-head between the two remaining Republican candidates since the New Hampshire elections a month ago, and Haley will be “playing” at home, as she was governor of South Carolina for six years before leaving office. position, in 2017, to serve as ambassador to the UN during the Donald Trump Government.

Despite ties to South Carolina, Haley faces strong headwinds in a state where Trump has the support of most of the party’s core, maintains a substantial lead in recent polls and enjoys great popularity among the conservative base.

Despite the low odds of victory, at a time when she has already lost three consecutive defeats to Trump, Nikki Haley promised to remain in the race, regardless of the result of Saturday’s primaries.

“I refuse to give up,” Haley said to applause at an event in her home state. “South Carolina will vote on Saturday. But on Sunday I will still be running for President. I’m not going anywhere,” she assured.

Both candidates have made violent attacks on each other, with Trump giving Haley ironic nicknames and minimizing the candidate’s work.

Haley has increasingly questioned Trump’s fitness for office, most recently criticizing his comments about Russia and NATO.

This is a marked contrast to the beginning of the campaign, when the former governor and other Republican Party candidates avoided directly criticizing Trump.

The South Carolina primary is generally an indicator of which candidate will win the Republican presidential nomination. Since the modern version of the state’s primaries began in 1980, virtually every Republican primary winner — except one — has won the party’s nomination.

The only exception was former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich, in 2012. On Saturday, polls will close across the state at 7:00 pm (local time).

South Carolina has an open primary system, which means that any registered voter can participate in any party’s primary.

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However, voters can only participate in a single party’s presidential primaries, so people who voted in the February 3 Democratic primary will not be able to vote in the Republican contest.

Only about 4% of registered voters voted in the Democratic contest – in which current President Joe Biden won – leaving the majority of the electorate, including Democrats and independents who prefer Haley over Trump and did not vote in the previous contest, eligible to vote in the Republican race.

In total, 50 delegates will be at stake and 29 will be awarded to the state winner. So far, Trump dominates the Republican primaries and has won 63 delegates between Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, compared to Haley’s 17.

Saturday’s contest will be the first Republican presidential primary held in the state since a new early voting law was enacted in May 2022.

The law allows voters to vote in person before Election Day. As of Tuesday night, more than 139,000 voters had voted.

With the South Carolina primaries over, the Republican race will move towards the big event known as “Super-Tuesday”, on March 5, when 15 states will be called to the polls, including California and Texas, the largest in the country.

As of Saturday, there will be 142 days until the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee – when the Party will announce its presidential candidate – and 255 days until the presidential elections, on November 5th.

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