Former Nikki Haley Allies Come Out Swinging on Eve of South Carolina Primary: ‘She Abandoned Us’

Former Nikki Haley Allies Come Out Swinging on Eve of South Carolina Primary: ‘She Abandoned Us’

According to the conventional political wisdom, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley should be looking forward to a boost to her campaign in the state’s Republican primary Saturday.

According to recent polling, however, she’s going to lose her home state to former President Donald Trump by 20 points — or maybe more.

According to “more than a dozen GOP operatives” interviewed by Politico, Haley has only herself to blame for what’s looking like a home state loss of embarrassing proportions.

The RealClearPolitics average of South Carolina polls has Trump over the state’s former governor by 25.3 points. In fact, looking at the 10 polls from 2024 listed on the page, Trump wins each handily, never beating Haley by fewer than 22 points.

Politico said that that was the result of Haley having “largely ignored the state’s grassroots activists,” basing their conclusion on those 12-plus interviews.

Trump may be defeating Haley in her own state, the outlet noted, but she’s also been defeating herself through her inattention to South Carolina’s GOP faithful in favor of national politics.

“Her campaign has totally overlooked the people who helped put her in the governor’s mansion,” Nate Leupp, a former Greenville Republican Party leader, told Politico, though he conceded that Haley probably wasn’t getting the credit she deserved for her time as the state’s chief executive.

“[M]ost grassroots Republicans at this point are being brutal right now and I think a little unfairly brutal” to Haley, Leupp added, saying that some South Carolina Republicans were choosing to ignore “all her accomplishments” from her time in the governor’s mansion.

Other former GOP officials agreed that Haley hadn’t spent enough time or effort maintaining relationships with South Carolina Republicans.

“We didn’t abandon her,” Allen Olson, formerly the head of the Columbia Tea Party — and formerly supportive of Haley — told Politico. “She abandoned us.”

Haley’s former deputy chief of staff, Rob Godfrey, had a slightly more nuanced take on Haley’s expected poor performance in Saturday’s voting, though he’s so far remained neutral in the Republican primary.

Conservatives in South Carolina, he told Politico, still “know her, like her and look back on her governorship with fondness.”

“But they also have grown comfortable, and, in fact, like Donald Trump as the national party leader,” he added.

Godfrey also said that one of Trump’s greatest strengths — his ability to “[weaponize] anger and emotion against political opponents” — has served him well in this campaign, in which Godfrey has seen “an angrier party base than anyone saw during the rise of the tea party.”

Haley’s strategy in the state has been to drive higher turnout by focusing on getting Republicans to the polls Saturday who would likely vote Republican in November but typically sit out the primary.

“Anyone who knows Nikki knows she’s always been the conservative outsider,” Haley campaign spokeswoman  Olivia Perez-Cubas told Politico. “Nikki’s working hard to earn every vote and fighting for the 70 percent of Americans who don’t want another Biden-Trump matchup.”

But that’s not the Haley Olson sees when he looks at her now.

“She started going too far to the establishment, so to speak,” he said.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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