The Republican race to find a candidate to take on President Joe Biden in November’s election continues to be a two-person show, with Saturday’s South Carolina primary the final stage. Despite his significant court entanglements, former President Donald Trump appears to have wrapped up the nomination with a bow. But former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is refusing to step down, despite the possibility of defeat in her home state.

“At this point, her path to the nomination seems very unlikely,” said Virginia Tech political expert Caitlin Jewitt, who answered questions about how the race is progressing through the South Carolina primary, the March 5 Super Tuesday contest and beyond.

Q: Does Nikki Haley have a chance of winning the South Carolina primary?

“Based on recent poll numbers, Haley is unlikely to pull off a victory in her home state of South Carolina, where she was elected governor twice. It will be important for her to do better than expected, like she did in New Hampshire, to give her some momentum heading into Super Tuesday.”

Q: What factors might work in Haley’s favor?

“South Carolina has an open primary, meaning any registered voter, regardless of party affiliation, can participate. This should be helpful for Haley, who tends to do better with independents.”

Q: How will racial change come to Super Tuesday?

“More than a third of all Republican delegates are at stake on Super Tuesday. Many of these states use proportional representation with a trigger for allocating delegates. This means that a candidate will receive all of the state’s delegates if they exceed a certain threshold – usually 50%. In a race that is effectively a two-person race, this is very likely, meaning the candidate who wins the states will take a big lead in delegates.”

Q: What are the prospects for the candidates if Haley stays in the ring beyond Super Tuesday?

“Towards mid-March, many states will begin adopting winner-take-all delegate allocation rules. This will give the front-runner Donald Trump an advantage and make it even harder for Haley to catch up.”

Q: Why does Haley stay in the race even though she’s unlikely to win?

“There are many reasons why a candidate stays in the race beyond trying to actually win the nomination. A presidential candidacy increases awareness, promotes one’s own brand, lays the foundation for a future candidacy and is a kind of test training for other offices – for example cabinet positions or the vice presidency. In Haley’s case, she is well funded by influential elites, which allows her to persevere and express a clear point of view. By staying in the race, she is positioning herself as an alternative to Trump, which could prove useful depending on what happens in Trump’s legal battles.”

About Jewitt
Caitlin Jewitt is an associate professor in the Virginia Tech Department of Political Science and associate chair. Her book, The Ground Rules: Parties, Voters and Presidential Nominationsexamines how election rules set by states and parties shape the presidential nomination process and impact voters. Her research interests include campaigns and elections, public opinion, political parties, and presidential primaries and caucuses. Check out her bio.

Arrange an interview
To arrange an interview, contact Mike Allen in the Media Relations Office at [email protected] or 540,400,1700.

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *