Why Nikki Haley Is Not Bowing Out Of US Presidential Race

The former governor has said voters don’t want a Donald Trump-Joe Biden rematch.

With South Carolina’s former governor trailing in her home state by over 20 points, Nikki Haley’s campaign is bracing for another embarrassment in the Republican presidential primary on Saturday. 

Donald Trump’s last major opponent for the Republican nomination ahead of the face-off with President Joe Biden in November has lost the first four presidential primary contests and has been accused of wasting the time and money of her party and its voters, but has remained adamant that she will stay in the race, at least for the foreseeable future.

The question on everyone’s minds is: Why?

Ms Haley, who was the former ambassador to the United Nations has said in various interviews that she is staying in the race because it is clear that Americans want a choice beyond Donald Trump and Joe Biden and the contest they had seen in 2020. According to a report by USA Today, the former governor is casting herself as a candidate who could unite a polarised country.

« The majority of Americans don’t just dislike one candidate. They dislike both… The truth is, Americans already know what Joe Biden and Donald Trump will do. They’re dividers at a time when America desperately, urgently, needs a uniter, » the report quoted her as saying. 

The BBC has reported that Ms Haley’s friends and allies insist that she is focused on this year’s Republican nomination. 

« When you talk to her in private, she says I’m sticking with this. The opportunity for her is now, »  said Jenny Sanford-McKay, South Carolina’s former first lady and Ms Haley’s friend, according to the report. 

Two other theories are, however, also doing the rounds. Ms Haley’s rival and former US President Donald Trump is facing four criminal indictments and a judge recently ordered him to pay $355 million, plus interest, in a civil fraud lawsuit alleging that he had lied about his wealth and massively increased the value of his properties. 

Speculation is rife that Trump may quit the presidential race if he is convicted in the cases, two of which pertain to election tampering and the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol by his supporters. Should that happen, it will put Ms Haley front and centre in the presidential face-off. 

The third theory, according to Republican strategists who spoke to the BBC, is that the former UN ambassador has an eye on the 2028 presidential election. « People will remember her, and that she was a solid candidate, » Ron Bonjean, a political strategist, said.

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