Haley Plans Bus Tour Ahead Of SC GOP Primary

Nikki Haley is launching a bus tour before South Carolina’s Republican presidential primary on February 24, hoping the two-week push will show her commitment to her home state heading into the first-in-the-South vote.

In South Carolina, support remains strong for former President Donald Trump, the GOP front-runner who has won the year’s earliest nominating contests and is set to pick up more delegates in Nevada’s caucuses on Thursday.

Haley’s two-week bus tour kicks off Saturday, with its first stops planned in Newberry, Greenwood, Lexington, and Orangeburg counties. According to the campaign, visits are also scheduled for Bamberg, Clemson, and Lexington to mark the places where Haley grew up, attended college, and raised her children.

Haley is trying for a surprise win against Trump in her home state’s GOP presidential primary, followed by a surge of independent and moderate voters next month, but her odds of defeating Trump are low following brutal defeats in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada.

Polls show Haley will likely lose to Trump in her home state and delegate-rich states, including Michigan, later this month and Alabama, California, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas on Super Tuesday on March 5.

Her campaign strategy relies on recruiting independent voters and Democrats to cast their ballots for her in protest of Trump in open primary states, where voters are allowed to cross party lines and cast their ballots in either party’s primary.

South Carolina has an open primary system, along with Michigan and significant Super Tuesday states Texas and Virginia, while a few other states with primaries next month, like Massachusetts and Arizona, allow independents, but not Democrats, to cast GOP primary ballots.

“Maintaining a position in the 2024 Republican presidential primary is going to be solely based upon how well Haley raises funds moving forward. It is the gas in the tank that she has to have, especially once she gets out of early primary states,” said South Carolina-based Republican strategist Dave Wilson.

The former U.N. ambassador’s draw of big donors, like the Koch-aligned group AFP Action, has injected momentum into her campaign over the past several months, though Haley has lost both two nominating contests so far.