Politics

*** Election Night Livewire *** Trump Looks for South Carolina Blowout

Former President Donald Trump, the leading GOP candidate for president and likely GOP nominee, looks to continue his perfect streak on Saturday night in the Palmetto State with a blowout victory over former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley in her home state.

Any loss for Haley would be utterly embarrassing, as she served for years as governor of South Carolina before joining Trump’s administration as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. But polling in recent weeks suggests Trump could be headed for a landslide victory, one that would come on the heels of wins a month ago in both Iowa’s caucuses and New Hampshire’s primaries.

Haley’s team is desperate to project some kind of a pathway out of South Carolina, vowing she will fight on through at least Super Tuesday. But a loss here could be the end of the road for her and make staying in the campaign even more difficult. In a contested GOP presidential primary, no candidate in modern history has ever won all three of the first major contests–Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina–so Trump would set a new record to add to his many with a win on Saturday. Trump also won the Nevada GOP cancuses because he ran essentially uncontested there after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis dropped out post-Iowa and endorsed Trump.

The Haley campaign says it is launching ads on television in Super Tuesday states to try to project strength, even in the face of expected embarrassment on Saturday. As the map expands beyond the early states from here, too, Trump is beginning to eye possibly mathematically eliminating Haley from contention as soon as mid-March, if he can keep this winning streak going. As soon as Haley finally drops out of the race–she has no pathway to the nomination at this stage, so continuing to run is futile anyway–Trump will formally become the presumptive nominee ahead of the GOP convention, which is scheduled to take place in Milwaukee in July. The GOP convention is where he will formally become the GOP nominee for president again for the third straight election.

Polls close in South Carolina at 7:00 p.m. ET, and results are expected soon after. Follow along here on Breitbart News for live updates with results and analysis throughout the evening.

UPDATE 8:58 p.m. ET:

With 65 percent reporting now, Haley’s percentage keeps dropping well below 40 percent. She’s at 38.7 percent and Trump is well above 60 points at 60.7 percent. In other words, depending on how what’s remaining to be counted, she might not even end up hitting the 40 percent mark she said she wanted to get to in the results.

UPDATE 8:55 p.m. ET:

Now, Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC)–a top Democrat in Congress–is encouraging Haley to continue her campaign on CNN. Pretty amazing that her top supporters in a GOP primary, supposedly, are actually Democrats like Clyburn. There is zero chance Clyburn would support her in a general election.

UPDATE 8:42 p.m. ET:

Haley says she is going to Michigan tomorrow, and then to Super Tuesday states throughout the next week.

UPDATE 8:39 p.m. ET:

Haley is thanking God for the position she’s in.

“I feel blessed tonight,” Haley says.

She also congratulates Trump.

“I want to congratulate Donald Trump on his victory and I want to thank the people of South Carolina for using their voice,” she says. “No matter the results, I love the people of our great state.”

Haley ends up staying in the race despite having no path forward.

She says the results show “frustration” with the direction of the country. “America will come apart if we make the wrong choices,” Haley said. “This has never been about me or my political future. We need to beat Joe Biden in November. I don’t believe Donald Trump can beat Joe Biden. Nearly every day, Trump drives people away including with his comments just yesterday. Today in South Carolina we’re getting around 40 percent of the vote. That’s about what we got in New Hampshire. I’m going to count it. I know 40 percent is not 50 percent. But I also know 40 percent is not some tiny group. There are huge numbers of voters in our Republican primaries who are saying they want an alternative. I said earlier this week that no matter what happens in South Carolina I would continue to run for president. I’m a woman of my word.”

“I’m not giving up this fight when a majority of Americans disapprove of Donald Trump and Joe Biden,” Haley continues.

Haley adds that South Carolina is only the fourth state to vote, and that another 20 or so states will vote in the next 10 days. She says she intends to give people a choice in the upcoming primaries.

UPDATE 8:31 p.m. ET:

Haley is finally coming out on stage as Trump crosses the 60 percent threshold with 47 percent reporting and Haley keeps dropping well below 40 percent.

She says “y’all are a rowdy bunch” to her supporters as she takes the stage.

UPDATE 8:26 p.m. ET:

Now, with 43 percent reporting, Haley has dropped below 40 percent down to 39.8 percent. This is a total embarrassment. She has no pathway forward.

UPDATE 8:25 p.m. ET:

CNN also reports that Haley and her team are desperately hoping to be above 40 percent in the final numbers in South Carolina. With 42 percent reporting, she’s at just 40.1 percent right now–which means she is possibly going to slide below that mark. She also cannot point to a single state where she thinks she can win.

UPDATE 8:16 p.m. ET:

CNN is reporting that Haley is “huddled” with her senior-most aides in a war room, and that she is in a “serious” mood. CNN adds she is not planning to drop out of the race this evening, but that she is waiting for more of the vote to come in before speaking. But let’s face reality here: There is nothing she can say tonight that will sugarcoat this disaster train wreck of a race she’s running.

UPDATE 8:10 p.m. ET:

The fact that Haley has not yet taken the stage more than an hour after getting crushed in her home state is not inspiring for the chances she would continue her pointless bid for the presidency at this stage. Rumors are flying behind the scenes right now that she is in fact seriously considering dropping out this evening. To do so would be a smart move, even though the political consultants around her are desperate for her to continue her campaign so they can keep getting paid.

UPDATE 7:45 p.m. ET:

From here, the calendar intensifies in terms of the pace–next week, Michigan has a primary on Tuesday and then caucuses the following Saturday. Delegates will be awarded out of each contest in Michigan. Also next Saturday are caucuses in Idaho and Missouri, both of which award delegates. The following day, Sunday March 3, will see the District of Columbia primary and then on Monday March 4 North Dakota will hold its GOP caucuses. Super Tuesday–which will see votes from Alabama, Arkansas, Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and American Samoa–is on Tuesday March 5.

UPDATE 7:38 p.m. ET:

While it’s still early in the evening, it’s actually possible that Trump completely edges Haley out and wins every single delegate from South Carolina this evening. If that happens, it’s a massive embarrassment for her even worse than simply losing her home state. South Carolina awards its delegates proportionally by congressional district, and it’s currently actually possible if not likely that Trump totally sweeps the whole state and absolutely demolishes Haley.

UPDATE 7:34 p.m. ET:

Haley is expected to speak soon. Whether she remains as divorced from reality as she was a month ago in New Hampshire will be revealed shortly.

UPDATE 7:33 p.m. ET:

Trump at 92 delegates leads Haley’s 17 delegates and DeSantis’s 9 delegates nationally. The pathway for Haley from here is essentially nonexistent. She could mathematically eliminated from contention by early to mid March.

UPDATE 7:25 p.m. ET:

Calls are now growing for Haley to actually drop out of the race given the fact she has zero chance of winning the nomination:

UPDATE 7:21 p.m. ET:

It’s notable that Trump spoke before Haley right after the race was called, a difference from New Hampshire where he let her go first. There, she gave a totally unhinged rant where she made it seem like she didn’t get roundly defeated. What Haley says on Saturday night after this absolute blowout loss remains to be seen.

The New York Times’s Maggie Haberman noticed this too:

UPDATE 7:17 p.m. ET:

Next up is Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who says that the “nightmare” America is facing is “almost over,” and that “help is on the way” with Trump on his way back to the White House.

UPDATE 7:15 p.m. ET:

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) is speaking now, and he asks the crowd if South Carolina is “Trump Country” to which the crowd responded enthusiastically.

UPDATE 7:14 p.m. ET:

Trump had Gov. Henry McMaster speak, and McMaster compared Trump’s South Carolina win to a rocket ship launching into space. “We just hit maximum velocity,” McMaster said.

UPDATE 7:11 p.m. ET:

Trump is saying that this win is so big and the energy behind his campaign this year is bigger than even previous campaigns he’s run in 2016 and 2020.

“Now, there’s a spirit that there’s never been,” Trump said, adding that “I have never seen the Republican Party so unified” than it is now behind him.

He urged supporters to celebrate for “15 minutes, then get back to work” pointing to upcoming contests in states like Michigan. Trump is also thanking his family members as well.

“We’re going to be up here on Nov. 5, and we’re going to look at Joe Biden… and we’re going to say ‘Joe, you’re fired,’” Trump said, adding that November is so far away he wishes it could come faster.

UPDATE 7:07 p.m. ET:

Trump has taken the stage to address supporters in South Carolina, saying his victory is a “bigger win than even expected.”

Trump is ripping the open border under Democrat President Joe Biden. “The border is the worst it’s ever been,” Trump said.

UPDATE 7:03 p.m. ET:

The polls just closed in South Carolina and Donald Trump has been declared the winner before any votes were even counted given the exit polling:

This means this is a landslide blowout victory for Trump.



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