Trump wins South Carolina primary against Haley in her home state, moves closer to clinching GOP nomination

Donald Trump Rock Hill South Carolina Feb. 23 2024

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Former President Donald Trump has won the South Carolina Republican presidential primary, Fox News Decision Desk projects.

Trump’s rapidly-called victory on Saturday over former U.N. ambassador and former two-term South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley in her home state moves the former president another step closer to clinching the 2024 GOP nomination. 

The Fox News Decision Desk projected Trump’s primary just after polls closed at 7 p.m. ET in the Palmetto State.

“We’re going to have a gigantic victory here in South Carolina,” Trump predicted on the eve of the primary, as he spoke Friday to roughly 5,000 supporters at a large rally in Rock Hill, in the northern part of the state.

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Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump arrives at a campaign rally Friday, Feb. 23, 2024, in Rock Hill, S.C. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Trump has three times as many delegates as former Haley already, and he will win up to 50 more tonight, according to the Fox News Decision Desk. Haley could not convert her hometown advantage into a win. She told supporters this week that she was not dropping out of the race.

Looking ahead to his all-but-certain general election rematch with President Biden, Trump said “we’re going to show crooked Joe Biden and the radical left Democrats that we are coming like a freight train in November.”

Trump said that the end was near for Haley’s White House bid.

“She’s getting clobbered,” Trump emphasized at a recent rally in North Charleston, S.C., as he pointed to his last remaining major rival for the Republican nomination. “She’s finished.”

And on Tuesday, at a Fox News town hall in Greenville, S.C,. Trump emphasized that “you’re not supposed to lose your home state. It shouldn’t happen,” before added that “she’s losing it bigly.”

The Trump campaign earlier this week predicted an “ass-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.


But Haley remained defiant, and addressed the calls for her to drop out in a major speech minutes after the release of the Trump campaign memo.

“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,” said the former two-term South Carolina governor who later served as U.N. ambassador in the Trump administration.

“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.

She added that “I have no fear of Trump’s retribution.”

Haley says she's staying in the GOP nomination race at least thru Super Tuesday

Republican presidential candidate former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks at a campaign event on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024, in Beaufort, S.C. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard) (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)

On the campaign trail in the closing days of the South Carolina primary, Haley told supporters that “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 also turned up the volume this month in her verbal attacks on Trump, from his legal entanglements to his controversial comments on NATO, the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and Trump’s mocking her husband — who is overseas on a military tour of duty.

Trump grabbed a majority of the votes last month in Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary victories, and won by a landslide earlier this month in the Nevada and U.S. Virgin Island caucuses.


Trump only made a handful of stops in South Carolina this month, while Haley campaigned relentlessly. But the final public opinion surveys indicated the former president maintaining a large double-digit lead.

While South Carolina is home to Haley, the former president enjoyed 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.”

Nikki Haley

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley, a former two-term South Carolina governor who later served as U.N. ambassador, speaks at a rally in Camden, S.C. on Feb. 19, 2024 (Fox News – Paul Steinhauser)

South Carolina holds open primaries, which means Republicans, independents, and even Democrats could vote in the GOP presidential nominating contest, as long as they didn’t cast a ballot in the Feb. 3 Democratic presidential primary.


Independents 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.

Nikki Haley on the eve of the South Carolina GOP presidential primary

Republican presidential candidate and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks to supporters at an event at Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum with the USS Yorktown in the background Friday, Feb. 23, 2024, in Mount Pleasant, S.C. (AP Photo/Mic Smith) (AP Photo/Mic Smith)

Regardless of the results in South Carolina, Haley in recent weeks 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 holds a primary on Tuesday, Feb. 27], 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.”

And on Friday, Haley’s campaign announced they were going up with a multi-million dollar 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, and 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.

Donald Trump town hall in South Carolina with Laura Ingraham

Former President Donald Trump greets supporters after sitting for a town hall hosted by Laura Ingraham on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle,” on Feb. 20, 2024 in Greenville, South Carolina (Fox News – Paul Steinhauser)

The Trump campaign predicted in their 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.

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