South Carolina GOP Primary: What to Watch

South Carolina voters head to the polls Saturday to vote in a Republican presidential primary that could well determine the political fate of the state's former governor, Nikki Haley. Republican nomination.

Here's what to watch in the Palmetto State as the votes are counted Saturday night.

As we saw last month in the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, the momentum of a race calls for the winner — in both cases Mr. Trump – Can give a sense of inspiration, even an air of inevitability. Before the caucuses were over, Iowa Mr. Invited to Trump.

Voting in South Carolina closes at 7 p.m., and Ms. Haley is expected to speak in Charleston once the winner is announced. The Trump campaign will host a “watch party” at the Columbia state capitol, where the former president is expected to speak.

An early night for the remaining two candidates will tell a lot about where the race is headed next week when they return to Michigan ahead of Super Tuesday on March 5, when 15 states vote to award 874 of the 2,429 Republican delegates.

Ms. Haley, once considered South Carolina's political star, will be defeated. Polling averages are well behind him By 30 percentage points, Mr.

After the New Hampshire primary, Mark Harris, chief strategist for Ms. Haley's super PAC, the SFA Fund, said the former governor didn't have to win her home state, but she needed to exceed her vote share in New. Hampshire – 43 percent – to show he is making inroads with Republican voters.

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Mrs. Betsy Ankney, Haley's campaign manager, followed it up Friday: “We've never met those criteria. We're not going to start now. But short of a win, Mrs. Haley deserves some sort of consolation prize from the state where she was born, raised, served as governor and still lives.”

Ms. Haley is determined to stay in the race regardless of the outcome in South Carolina. However, he wants to defy expectations so that he can remind voters of his favorite campaign T-shirt, “Underestimate Me.” That would be fun.”

2020 Major Party Candidates President Biden and Mr. Polls have found that most Americans do not favor a rematch with Trump. In South Carolina's Democratic primary on February 8, Mr. . But only 131,302 people voted, always predicted to be anemic at the low end of the expected turnout.

Unlike Iowa, where subzero temperatures and blowing snow will often dampen turnout, the weather in South Carolina will be good — even beautiful — on Saturday. The lack of drama in the state may have contributed to the low turnout: Even Ms. Haley's supporters expressed little hope that she could win. But South Carolinians' dismal showing could add a data point to Ms. Haley's argument that Americans want a fresh, younger face to vote for in November — or, more broadly, that neither candidate is exciting voters. Mood

South Carolinians like to divide themselves into three factions: Upstate around Greenville and Spartanburg, where the question is, which church do you belong to?; Dominating the state capital, the Midlands, the question is, which company do you work for?; And in the mellower lowcountry of Charleston and the coast, the question is, what are you drinking?

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Mr. Trump's strength lies with evangelical conservatives upstate, and his dominance with elected officials in Columbia is a testament to Ms. Haley's weakness in the Midlands, where she tends to feather or politicize as governor.

That leaves the Lowcountry, where wealthy Republicans build 19th-century mansions in Charleston and Beaufort, golf at Hilton Head or lavish beach homes on the Charleston suburbs of Isle of Palms and Sullivan's Island — and on Kiawah Island, where Ms. Haley lives. Lower country should be Halle country.

But the influx of newcomers — the largest cohort from New York and New Jersey — has swelled in the middle-class, inland suburbs surrounding Charleston and Horry County, home to Myrtle Beach. They are nowhere near Governor Haley.

Mr. Trump has drawn a lot of attention from the educated, affluent Republicans who once controlled the party, and from suburbanites unscathed by their prior experience with Ms. Haley.

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