Haley faces increasing pressure from Republicans to withdraw from the presidential race

Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley is facing pressure from fellow Republicans to drop out of the presidential race after finishing second in the New Hampshire primary, with key GOP leaders urging the party to quickly unite around a single candidate.

After two nominating contests, Haley remains Donald Trump's only major challenger remaining in the Republican primary — with the former president scoring decisive victories in New Hampshire on Tuesday and in last week's Iowa caucuses. Although Haley is closing in on Trump in the Granite State, she faces an uphill battle for nomination races in later states than some pre-primary polls indicated. That slate includes his home state of South Carolina, where Trump is leading in the polls.

Rona McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, told Fox News On Tuesday, he said he didn't see “the math and the path forward” for Haley to win the party's nomination, but stopped short of openly calling for Haley to drop out.

“I think he's running a great campaign. But I think there's a message coming out of voters that's very clear: We need to unite around our eventual nominee, which is going to be Donald Trump, and we need to make sure we defeat Joe Biden,” McDaniel said.

He noted that Haley poured resources into New Hampshire, winning the support of Gov. Chris Sununu (R) with the state's independent and unaffiliated voters — who still finished second.

“If she comes in second here, I don't think I see the path,” McDaniel said. “… This is not the RNC talking. This is not establishment talk. This is what the voters are talking about.

Haley has vowed to stay in the race for the long haul and has strongly pushed back against suggestions that she would settle for being declared the vice presidential nominee or drop out. At her New Hampshire watch party Tuesday night, Haley was upbeat, congratulating Trump on his victory — “he's earned it” — but declaring the race is “not far off.”

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“Dozens of states to go. Next up is my sweet home state of South Carolina,” he cheered supporters on.

Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley vowed to stay in the race after losing the New Hampshire primary on January 24. (Video: The Washington Post, Photo: Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

However, a pressure campaign from Trump's supporters began as Haley delivered her speech to her supporters. Within 30 minutes, three Republican senators had publicly expressed their desire to see Haley leave.

“I've seen enough,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) wrote On X, previously on Twitter, at 8:05pm “To beat Biden, Republicans must rally around a singular candidate, and it's clear that President Trump is the choice of Republican voters.”

A few minutes later, Sen. Contributed by JD Vance (R-Ohio). “At this point Haley can quit or help the Democrats” Wrote on stage.

After another 10 minutes, Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), who has not previously endorsed a primary candidate, declared At X, he said he supports Trump and that it's “time for the @GOP to unite” to defeat Biden.

Haley's home state and longtime Trump supporter, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R), joined the call of his fellow Republicans on Tuesday night. Writing in X: “The sooner we unite the better.”

It publicly called for Republicans to rally behind Trump Sen. Eric Schmidt (Mon.), Rep. Dan Bishop (NC) and Rep. Harriet Hackman (Wyo.) all announce the top of social media posts.

Haley, her campaign officials and top surrogates have all continued to express optimism for the upcoming nomination contests, saying they don't want to see a Trump “coronation.” Haley spoke Wednesday morning with Republicans in the U.S. Virgin Islands, which will decide how to award its delegates on Feb. 8.

Haley's allies pointed to her stronger-than-expected performance in Iowa, where she won eight delegates, and in New Hampshire, where she was projected to come within 11 percentage points of Trump. -point lead. (The poll was conducted before Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced over the weekend that he was suspending his campaign.)

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In a memo outlining the state of the race Tuesday, Haley campaign manager Betsy Ankney noted that both South Carolina and Michigan have open primaries, meaning anyone can vote in the GOP primary unless they've already voted for a Democrat. A welcome landscape for Haley, who has done better with independent and unaffiliated voters than Trump.

On March 5, or Super Tuesday, 11 of 16 states and territories will hold open or semi-open primaries, representing “significant fertile ground” for Haley, Ankney wrote.

“After Super Tuesday, we'll have a better picture of where this race stands,” Ankney added. “By that time, millions of Americans in 26 states and territories will have voted. Until then everyone take a deep breath.”

On Wednesday morning, Sununu, the governor who campaigned alongside Haley in his home state, called the idea that Haley would drop out now “stupid.”

“With all due respect to Rona McDaniel, to say we're going to call it after two states, [with] 40 states to go…because it's getting so close? That's nonsense,” Sununu said on Fox News. “You have to let the voters decide, not the political elite out of DC.”

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) told reporters Wednesday that she was glad to hear Haley was determined to stay in the race, but acknowledged that she had not formally endorsed him.

“I think the more people look at him, especially now that he seems like the only alternative to Donald Trump, the more they're going to be attracted,” Collins said.

But even if Haley doesn't want to drop out of the race, she'll be holding on to donors who said Wednesday they were worried about her chances in her home state of South Carolina.

Before Scott left Sen. Metals tycoon Andy Sabin, who donated the largest amount to Tim Scott's (RS.C.) presidential campaign, donated a small amount to Haley. But Sabin, who Said before Haley said she would need to win New Hampshire to pose a real challenge to Trump, adding that she would no longer contribute to his campaign.

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Sabin, who has been a vocal critic of Trump in the past, said he resigned to support Trump by encouraging people to vote for the former president — but the Republican donor drew taxes on the financial support.

“I'm not going to give him a nickel, I said,” Sabin told The Washington Post. “But I'm going to do everything I can to elect him.”

Several advisers to political megadonors, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations, said they believe significant future funding for Haley after the New Hampshire event is unlikely.

“Without a New Hampshire win, she doesn't have the momentum to win South Carolina,” one consultant said. “And without a path to South Carolina, she has no chance on Super Tuesday.”

But not everyone gave up on Haley. Although Haley was disappointed to lose New Hampshire, Eric Levin, a key Republican fundraiser, said he would continue to raise money for her.

“As long as she's racing, I'm with her,” he said.

Americans for Prosperity super PAC, the political network's flagship group led by conservative billionaire Charles Koch, which lent its sophisticated ground operations and political networking power to Haley's operations in Iowa and New Hampshire, said it plans to continue its work for Haley in South Carolina. . The group noted a “steep path”. Report Published after the New Hampshire results were announced. But as of Wednesday, the organization had contacted about 300,000 South Carolinians, said spokesman Bill Riggs.

Mark Harris, lead strategist at SFA Fund, a pro-Haley super PAC, said he expects continued support — “People are freaking out,” he said — but he knows Haley will emerge as “an insurgent candidate.” .

“Our donors have been in this for a long time,” he told reporters on Wednesday. “They believe in Nikki Haley. They believe in a new direction for the country.

Michael Scherer contributed to this report.

Correction

An earlier version of this article said Donald Trump had an 18-point lead over Nikki Haley in New Hampshire. It was a 28 point lead. The article has been corrected.

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