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Trump, Haley face off in South Carolina Republican primary

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-02-24 20:58
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A woman votes at a polling location on the day of South Carolina's Republican presidential primary election in Nikki Haley's hometown of Bamberg, South Carolina, US, Feb 24, 2024. [Photo/Agencies]

WASHINGTON - Polls opened across South Carolina for Republican primary voters on Saturday morning as former US president Donald Trump and the state's former governor, Nikki Haley, face off.

Trump remains undefeated in the GOP race and has led Haley by a significant margin in South Carolina polls, while Haley has vowed to continue her 2024 presidential campaign beyond Saturday's contest in her home state.

"When the country's future is on the line, you don't drop out. You keep fighting. In fact, you fight harder than ever. That's why I refuse to quit," Haley told her supporters in Greenville, South Carolina, earlier this week. "South Carolina will vote on Saturday. But on Sunday, I'll still be running for president. I'm not going anywhere."

A growing number of Republican figures have called upon Haley, also the former US ambassador to the United Nations under the Trump presidency, to drop out so that they could focus on the fight against the Democratic Party.

During a recent Fox News event, Trump, who faces multiple criminal lawsuits and hundreds of millions of US dollars in civil penalties, predicted that Haley would lose South Carolina "bigly" as the state has a more conservative and religious Republican electorate.

South Carolina voters find the economy to be the most important issue at 33 percent, while 13 percent find immigration to be the top issue, 13 percent education, 12 percent healthcare, 9 percent crime, 6 percent threats to democracy, and 4 percent abortion access, according to a new Emerson College Polling/The Hill survey.

South Carolina's Democratic primary was held earlier this month in which incumbent US President Joe Biden won a landslide victory. His lone challenger is US Congressman Dean Phillips who has argued that Biden is "in a terrible position" in his pursuit of reelection.

"I have a lot of concerns about Trump regaining the presidency," Haley told NPR on Thursday. "I have even more concerns about Joe Biden being president. I mean, you look at both of these men and all they have done is given us chaos, all they have given us is division."

The US presidential primaries, extending through June, precede the Republican National Convention in July, where the party's presidential nominee is officially selected by delegates, followed by the Democratic National Convention in August, leading up to the 2024 Election Day on Nov 5.

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