Trump rival Nikki Haley becomes first woman in history to win Republican primary

By John Mercury March 5, 2024

Donald Trump’s rival Nikki Haley has won the Republican primary in Washington DC – securing the first victory of her campaign to become the party’s presidential nomination.

Ms Haley’s victory on Sunday has at least temporarily halted Mr Trump’s sweep of the Republican primary contest – although the former president is likely to pick up several hundred more delegates in this week’s Super Tuesday races.

Her success in Washington DC also marks the first time in history a woman has won a Republican primary.

Despite her early losses in states such as South Carolina and New Hampshire, Ms Haley has said she would continue her fight to be the party’s pick for the race for the White House.

However, she declined to name any primary she felt confident she would win.

Following her loss in her home state of South Carolina in February, Ms Haley had said she was adamant that voters in the remaining places deserved an alternative to Mr Trump despite his dominance in the race.

Ms Haley, a former US ambassador to the UN, won all 19 delegates at stake in the Washington DC primary.

“It’s not surprising that Republicans closest to Washington dysfunction are rejecting Donald Trump and all his chaos,” Ms Haley’s spokesperson Olivia Perez-Cubas said in a statement.

Washington DC is one of the most heavily Democratic jurisdictions in the nation, with only about 23,000 registered Republicans in the city.

Democrat Joe Biden won the district in the 2020 general election with 92% of the vote.

Read more:
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Ms Haley joked with more than 100 supporters inside a hotel ballroom after her primary victory: “Who says there’s no Republicans in DC? Come on… We’re trying to make sure that we touch every hand that we can and speak to every person.”

As she gave her standard campaign speech, criticising Mr Trump for increasing the federal deficit, one rallygoer bellowed: “He cannot win a general election. It’s madness.”

That prompted agreement from Ms Haley, who argues that she can deny Mr Biden a second term, but Mr Trump can’t.

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From 25 February: Trump tells Biden ‘You’re fired!’

Mr Trump’s campaign issued a statement shortly after Ms Haley’s victory sarcastically congratulating her on being named “Queen of the Swamp by the lobbyists and DC insiders that want to protect the failed status quo”.

Ms Haley held a rally in the Washington DC on Friday before heading back to North Carolina and a series of states holding Super Tuesday primaries.

Super Tuesday is the day when the largest number of states hold their presidential primaries and caucuses – with Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas among the 16 states and one US territory who will be voting on Tuesday 5 March.

While campaigning as an avowed conservative, Ms Haley has tended to perform better among more moderate and independent-leaning voters.

Four in 10 Haley supporters in South Carolina’s Republican primary were self-described moderates, compared with 15% for Trump, according to Associated Press polling data.

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