Donald Trump was projected as the winner in South Carolina’s Republican presidential primary on Saturday over rival Nikki Haley, keeping him on track to become his party’s 2024 nominee.

The Associated Press called the race in the former president’s favor shortly after polls closed statewide at 7 p.m. Eastern Time.

While Haley is a former South Carolina governor, Trump was widely expected to win in her home state, given he had a 25-point lead in polls focused on the state, according to a RealClearPolitics moving average of surveys.

Haley is likely to face further pressure to drop out of the 2024 GOP race, but she said Tuesday that she’ll stay in the contest at least until after the Super Tuesday primaries on March 5. She talked about Americans’ “dissatisfaction with the leading candidates,” saying there’s still a chance to restore people’s faith so she “will fight as long as that chance exists.”

There are expectations among political analysts that she’ll do as promised and not drop out in the near future.

Haley “seems likely to stay in the race regardless of the outcome in South Carolina” because she wants to remain the main Republican alternative to Trump in 2024 or perhaps become the GOP front-runner for 2028, said Stephen Farnsworth, a professor of political science at Virginia’s University of Mary Washington, ahead of Trump’s victory in the Palmetto State.

Trump, 77, might face a health crisis or a conviction in one of his ongoing criminal cases, and then Republicans “may have their doubts about nominating him” and prefer an alternative this year, Farnsworth told MarketWatch. And regarding 2028, the Mary Washington expert noted that the GOP has a “history of turning to second-place finishers for subsequent nominees,” such as when the party tapped George H.W. Bush in 1988, John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012.

Check out: Trump takes credit for stocks’ rally, yet there are expectations his Fed would be ‘not just dovish, but weird’

Jeff Gulati, a professor of political science at Bentley University in Massachusetts, also views Haley, 52, as counting on a sudden setback for Trump or looking to 2028.

“One of the advantages of going state to state, even if you’re getting beat by a significant margin, is that you’re building an organization, and that … gives her a head start for 2028,” Gulati said.

“And Trump is 77 years old. He’s got quite a few legal problems right now, and so I think there’s also the hope that maybe something happens that forces him to to drop out, and then she’ll be the only one there.”

To be sure, Haley continues to look like a longshot for the 2024 Republican nomination, and many analysts already have moved on to preparing for a rematch between Trump and President Joe Biden in November’s general election.

Related: Trump leads Biden in 7 swing states and is favored on handling the economy: poll

Betting markets tracked by RealClearPolitics have been putting Haley’s chances at becoming the GOP nominee at only around 6% in recent days.

Gulati said a 6% chance could be “about right,” since it “really is about Donald Trump, either voluntarily or involuntarily, dropping out of the race.”

Farnsworth, on the other hand, said 6% seems optimistic, and 1% may be more accurate.

Now read: The $7,500 federal EV tax credit is on the ballot in November



Source link