As Haley seeks to upset Trump in her home state of South Carolina, here are some things to keep an eye on during the Republican primary.

Washington, DC (AP) – If Nikki Haley wants to win the Republican primary in her home state, the best-case scenario is that her slate on Super Tuesday, March 5, can compete with Donald Trump to some extent.

A surprise victory in South Carolina, on the other hand, is extremely unlikely in a state where Republicans like to favor their former governor but have a strong affection for the former president.

Trump is seeking an early state sweep after winning Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada. Haley, who was twice elected governor of South Carolina and served as Trump's U.N. ambassador, can reduce the difference and slow Trump's momentum.

Months ago, Nikki Haley marked Feb. 24. Building support through the first three races and capturing “my sweet state of South Carolina,” as she told Iowa and New Hampshire voters, was her strategy.

She adjusted lately. Without predicting victory, she talks about her progress and vows to continue till Super Tuesday. “This race had 14 candidates,” she continues. I’ve vanquished 12 guys, and I have one more to catch up to.”

All of this seems familiar, which should make Haley nervous. Three of Trump's opponents in 2016 took great delight in hosting their primaries at home. Two even came out on top: Ted Cruz of Texas and former Ohio governor John Kasich. Trump made it to the nomination party in any case.

While Trump dominated Super Tuesday, Marco Rubio remained in the race until his home-state primary. Not long after Trump made the Palm Beach mansion Mar-a-Lago his permanent abode, Rubio was utterly crushed.

Republicans conduct an open primary in South Carolina, which has no party registration. Only the 126,000 Democratic primary voters from Feb. 3 are ineligible Saturday. That's far less than the 500,000-plus Democrats who voted in 2020, giving Haley plenty of anti-Trump votes.

Haley emphasizes her conservative credentials as governor, adding tax cuts and a voter identification legislation, while noting her bipartisan effort to remove the Confederate banner from the state Capitol following the 2015 Charleston church shooting. She calls 77-year-old Trump erratic and washed-up but says she voted for him twice and was delighted to be his U.N. ambassador. She labels herself “pro-life” but does not “judge anyone who is pro-choice” or support a nationwide abortion ban.

“She ran for governor as a tea party ally, and then she became one of the same good ole boys,” said Spartanburg former deputy sheriff Tim Foster, a Trump supporter. Foster criticized Haley for removing the Confederate battle flag: “She’s a very different person now than she was when I voted for her.”

In the meanwhile, Antjuan Seawright, a prominent veteran of the Democratic campaign, stated that Democrats, particularly Black voters who are the foundation of the party in South Carolina, take Haley at her word when she scoffs at individuals who term her a "moderate."

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