Michigan primary win helps Trump build momentum ahead of Super Tuesday

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a rally on February 17, 2024 in Waterford, Michigan. 

Scott Olson | Getty Images

Donald Trump won the Michigan Republican presidential primary, easily defeating former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley, Trump’s last remaining primary rival.

“The numbers are far greater than we even anticipated,” Trump said by speakerphone to a Republican watch party in Grand Rapids, shortly after news organizations called the race for him. “Thank you very much, and we’ll be doing a lot of campaigning over the next couple of months.”

Haley has also vowed to keep campaigning at least through Super Tuesday next week, when 15 states and one U.S. territory hold their nominating contests.

Her campaign called Tuesday’s results in Michigan evidence that Trump cannot even win over his own party in a general election.

“Let this serve as another warning sign that what has happened in Michigan will continue to play out across the country,” said Olivia Perez-Cubas, Haley’s national spokesperson.

“So long as Donald Trump is at the top of the ticket, Republicans will keep losing to the socialist left. Our children deserve better,” Perez-Cubas said.

Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley hosts a campaign event in Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S. February 26, 2024. 

Carlos Osorio | Reuters

Haley has not won any Republican primaries or caucuses so far, and there are no upcoming state primaries that she is expected to win. Her campaign has nevertheless organized leadership teams in at least nine Super Tuesday states, the most recent of which was announced earlier Tuesday.

Trump went into the Michigan primary with momentum already, having trounced Haley by double-digit margins in her home state of South Carolina just three days earlier.

But there were also warning signs Tuesday for the former president, who claims that the Republican Party is as unified behind him as it has ever been.

In South Carolina, Haley walked away with nearly 40% of the vote. And while Democrats were allowed to cast ballots in the state’s GOP primary, more than one in five Republican voters there told AP VoteCast that they would not vote for Trump in a general election, Politico reported.

Trump’s path to the nomination, and another shot at the White House, also runs through a thicket of legal troubles.

He is scheduled to stand trial in New York court next month on criminal charges related to alleged hush money payments made to a porn star and others. Another criminal case, based on Trump’s retention of classified documents after leaving the White House in 2020, is set to begin in federal court in Florida in late May.

Trump is also battling two other criminal cases that center on his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss to Biden. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all of his criminal charges.

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