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South Carolina is the fourth and final early contest state in the 2024 Republican presidential primary, and voters in the state will have a chance to weigh in on their preferred candidate on Saturday.
Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley was hoping for a boost in her home state as she remains the latest serious contender trying to thwart former President Donald Trump’s chances at a third consecutive Republican nomination.
But polls leading up to Election Day show Haley trailing the former president by an average of 30 points.
DailyMail.com breaks down what to watch on primary election day in South Carolina.
THE BATTLE FOR SOUTH CAROLINA: Former President Donald Trump (left) and Nikki Haley (right) are the final two candidates in the Republican primary. He held a rally in Rock Hill on Friday, while she appeared in Mount Pleasant at the Patriot’s Point Naval and Maritime Museum.
Signs of former President Donald Trump and his Republican rival Nikki Haley are seen at an intersection in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, a day before the Palmetto State primary.
VOTING DAY INFORMATION
South Carolina had several days of early voting, where voters could go to their polling places before Saturday to cast their vote from February 12 to 22.
Polls on Election Day, Saturday, February 23, will open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 7:00 p.m., although voters who are in line at the time of closing will be allowed to cast their ballots. .
Primary results typically begin leaking shortly after polls close, depending on ballot processing time.
Trump will hold an election night shindig in Columbia, South Carolina, the state capital, while Haley will address supporters in Charleston after voting mid-morning at her polling station on Kiawah Island.
WHO CAN VOTE?
South Carolina holds an open primary, meaning motivated Democrats and independent voters can come out on Election Day to cast their preferred vote.
This also opens the possibility of protest votes.
Some Trump supporters believe Haley could get a boost from support from moderate and left-leaning residents, including registered Democrats.
Registered voters in South Carolina can vote in either the Democratic or Republican primaries, but not both.
South Carolina held early voting from February 12 to 22. A woman in Columbia, South Carolina, participates in early voting on Thursday, the last day to cast her ballot before polls open at 7 a.m. Saturday for Election Day.
Trump loyalists gathered Friday afternoon in Rock Hill, South Carolina, for the former president’s final rally in the Palmetto State before Election Day voting began.
SOUTH CAROLINA DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY
The South Carolina primary looked a little different this year for Democrats.
While the state allows Democrats and Republicans to choose the date of their respective presidential primaries, it is typically the fourth state in which both major American political parties participate.
But this year, Democrats decided they wanted the Palmetto State to hold the first primary contest, opting for a more diverse first-contest state than Iowa or New Hampshire.
Biden easily won the Democratic primary in South Carolina on February 3 with 96 percent of the vote.
WHAT SOUTH CAROLINA VOTERS SAY BEFORE THE PRIMARIES
Even in Bamberg, Haley’s hometown, DailyMail.com found that the majority of voters who go to the polls support Trump.
“I voted for the winner,” Mike, 79, of Bamberg County, said Thursday as he left an early voting location. When asked who it was he offered, ‘Mr. Triumph.’
The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge connecting Charleston to Mount Pleasant is seen in the background of Nikki Haley’s final campaign stop in her home state of South Carolina before Election Day voting began Saturday.
A South Carolina voter participates in early voting Thursday in Columbia, South Carolina.
One topic that has resonated has been Trump’s recent comment that Haley’s husband, who is in the US military and deployed, is avoiding her by being in Africa.
‘What happened to your husband? What happened to her husband? the former president asked at a rally in Conway, South Carolina, earlier this month. ‘Where is she? He’s gone. He knew. He knew.’
Suzanne Zimmermann, a 54-year-old retired school teacher from Fripp Island, told DailyMail.com that she hopes comments like that change things for Haley.
“I know she has a long way to go,” said Zimmermann, who was attending Haley’s rally Wednesday night in Beaufort.
I hope people do, especially when they say things like, you know, asking where her husband is. I hope she continues to shoot herself in the foot long enough for people to say…why would we want that? ?’ Zimmermann added.
Mimbee Ray, a 71-year-old retired office manager from Denmark who knows Haley personally, also mentioned the insult to Trump’s husband.
He called Trump “too vocal” and added that he “especially likes to criticize where her husband is.”
A Nikki Haley supporter attends the former governor’s final rally in South Carolina Friday night in Mount Pleasant.
A drone shot shows the scene of Nikki Haley’s last rally in South Carolina: at the Patriot’s Point Naval and Maritime Museum, located in Mount Pleasant, across from the city of Charleston.
He is fighting in our army. And then to say that our military is stupid or whatever, it just wasn’t right,” Ray added.
But for Trump loyalists, questioning Michael Haley’s whereabouts was totally legitimate.
‘And here’s a question. Where is her husband? Good question. “Why feel insulted?” said Kathy, a 76-year-old Trump supporter from Bamberg County.
If Trump wins South Carolina on Saturday, which is the most likely outcome, the primary will continue if Haley decides to stay in the race.
Ultimately, any candidate seeking the nomination needs to win 1,215 delegates, and 50 are up for grabs in South Carolina.
So far, Haley has won 17 delegates, to Trump’s 63, after Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and the US islands of Virginia intervened this year.
During a “state of the race” speech on Tuesday, Haley insisted she is “far away” from dropping out of the race.
She has repeatedly said she plans to stay in the race until Super Tuesday on March 5, which is when 15 different states will hold simultaneous primaries.
If poll predictions come true on Saturday and Haley loses her home state, her chances of remaining a viable candidate will shrink even further.