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Tags: nikki haley | south carolina | donald trump | gop

Haley Accused of Abandoning Home State Constituents

By    |   Friday, 23 February 2024 10:20 AM EST

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley has a South Carolina problem, and it's got more to do with the hard feelings among the conservative electorate in her home state than with former President Donald Trump, her rival for the GOP nomination.

Haley has paid scant attention to the state's grassroots activists since leaving the governor's mansion, according to more than a dozen GOP operatives across the state who spoke with Politico.

A junior-level Haley campaign staffer in December emailed the South Carolina GOP asking how to find out about county party events. State party officials, who had been communicating with other Republican campaigns for months, told Politico that they found the question unsettling since that it came so late in election season and from the campaign of the state's two-term former governor.

A large part of Haley's problem in South Carolina has to do with her failure to cultivate relationships and grow a base of support with the party faithful, according to the Politico report.

"We didn't abandon her," Allen Olson, former head of the Columbia Tea Party, told Politico. "She abandoned us."

Haley, currently in South Carolina to campaign before Saturday's primary, appears to be on the outside looking in as voters have forged a deep connection with Trump in her absence.

Politico reported that more than 10 years after she last charmed state conservatives, Haley had ditched state and local party events for national ones, trading Silver Elephant Dinners, party conventions, and grassroots gatherings for national speaking engagements, book tours, and TV appearances.

As she stumped for Republican candidates across the country, Haley entertained the idea of running for president, but then made few attempts to work with state party activists until she entered the race late in the game, Politico reported.

Haley had once been a star of the tea party movement and in 2010 won a crowded South Carolina GOP primary by tapping into a wellspring of anti-establishment zeal.  

Haley, newly elected to the governorship, was deemed one of the most conservative state executives in the country. She cut taxes and vetoed spending, challenged the policies of then-President Barack Obama, and passed one of the nation's most stringent illegal immigration bills.

Returning to the state's Republican fold 14 years later has likely been a rough homecoming. Recent polling shows that Trump is leading Haley by nearly 30 percentage points, leaving her to cobble together an unusual coalition of independents, Democrats, and moderate Republicans in her quest to win the state's primary.

This new coalition looks different from the one that won her the governorship.

"Her campaign has totally overlooked the people who helped put her in the governor's mansion," Nate Leupp, the former chair of the Greenville GOP, told Politico.

Nicole Wells

Nicole Wells, a Newsmax general assignment reporter covers news, politics, and culture. She is a National Newspaper Association award-winning journalist.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


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Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley has a South Carolina problem, and it's got more to do with the hard feelings among the conservative electorate in her home state than with former President Donald Trump, her rival for the GOP nomination.
nikki haley, south carolina, donald trump, gop
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2024-20-23
Friday, 23 February 2024 10:20 AM
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