Deep-Blue Washington Delivers Haley Her First GOP Primary Win

Terri Wu
By Terri Wu
March 3, 2024NTD Evening News
Presidential Candidate Nikki Haley won the Washington GOP primary yesterday ending Former President Donald Trump’s undefeated winning streak.

WASHINGTON—Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley secured her first GOP primary win over former President Donald Trump on March 3, winning 62.8 percent of the vote in Washington D.C.’s primary.

President Trump won 33.2 percent. Because Ms. Haley won more than 60 percent, she now gets all of the district’s 19 delegates. The district is deep blue, with 92 percent voting for President Joe Biden in 2020.

The primary came one day after President Trump swept up all three Republican caucuses in Michigan, Missouri, and Idaho. Until March 3, the former president had won every single primary contest since Iowa in January, all of them by large margins.

President Trump’s campaign said the results “reaffirmed the object of President Trump’s campaign—he will drain the swamp and put America first.”

“While Nikki Haley has been soundly rejected throughout the rest of America, she was just crowned Queen of the Swamp by lobbyists and DC insiders that want to protect the status quo,” said campaign press secretary Karoline Leavitt in a statement.

Prior to the D.C. primary, President Trump had 244 delegates, and Ms. Haley had 24. The former South Carolina governor’s first primary victory brings her delegate court up to 43.

The North Dakota Republican Primary is tomorrow, followed by Super Tuesday, when 15 states and American Samoa will vote.

This year’s turnout was 2,035 based on a total of 22,500 registered Republicans in the nation’s capital, according to D.C. GOP chair Patrick Mara, who said the voter roll had just been cleaned up. In comparison, the contested 2016 and 2012 primary campaign turnouts were 2,800 and 5,200, respectively, and about 1,550 participated in the uncontested primary in 2020.

This year’s primary in D.C. is unique. It’s a closed primary, meaning that only registered Republicans could vote. Unlike the 2020 Republican primary, which was run by the city, this primary is run by the D.C. GOP. Therefore, the Madison Hotel has been the only polling location for the primary for the past three days. Polls opened on Friday and closed at 7 p.m. ET on March 3.

It’s the first time the D.C. GOP has ever administered a primary on its own because the rules of the Republican National Committee (RNC) require any state or territory primaries to occur at least 45 days before the Republican National Convention, which is scheduled for July 15. The deadline thus falls on May 31, ahead of the city-run primary in June.

Volunteers at the Madison Hotel told The Epoch Times that it was a unique experience; exciting and exhausting but ultimately rewarding.

The race was a close one. Mr. Mara told The Epoch Times hours before the poll closed today that “it’s anyone’s election.”

“Today, I see two Trump people. Then I see two Haley people. Then I see a Haley person. Then I see a Trump person. Maybe it’s a blowoff, but today, it looks awfully close,” he said, adding that he knew a lot of people’s voting decisions in the close-knit community.

A change Mr. Mara observed this time is that, compared to the last contested Republican primary, people were “fairly positive whether they were for Haley or for Trump.” In contrast, he said, a lot of “Never Trumpers” were at the Republican primary in 2016, which was won by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

Did Trump Campaign Threaten Republican Lobbyists in D.C.?

According to a Politico report, the Trump campaign warned Republican lobbyists in D.C. that “If you don’t bother voting, don’t bother calling.” The author, Alex Isenstadt, quoted an anonymous source on the Trump team authorized to speak about campaign strategy that those lobbyists would risk losing access once Trump was in the White House if they didn’t vote in the D.C. Primary, claiming that the Trump campaign would get a hold of the voting data.

Mr. Mara said he had two phone calls with Mr. Isenstadt and clarified that the voting data wouldn’t be public information through the city’s Board of Elections because the race is a Party-run event.

The article is now updated to say that although the D.C. GOP owns the voting data, the Trump team would get the data eventually because they believe that the D.C. GOP would upload the data to Data Trust, a digital voter data system used by the Republican Party or give the data to the RNC.

Mr. Mara told The Epoch Times that it would still be impossible to know who voted for which primary candidate because they don’t record that information in their spreadsheet. The Epoch Times reviewed a blank official ballot, which doesn’t capture any voter information.

He called his primary data “America’s least interesting data,” adding that it only shows a list of Republicans who voted at the Madison Hotel.

In addition, Mr. Mara said he was unaware of the reported warning from the Trump campaign.

The Epoch Times has contacted the Trump campaign for comment.

Haley Supporters Like Her Style

Ms. Haley held a rally at the Madison Hotel on Friday after making a campaign stop in northern Virginia on Thursday night. Over 200 people attended the event held over lunchtime.

Her supporters liked her style and described her as “level-headed,” “smart,” and “a good alternative.” Unlike in northern Virginia, the D.C. supporters told The Epoch Times that their support for Ms. Haley stemmed more from a positive perception of her than as a protest vote against President Trump.

Jack Tompkins, a 19-year-old college student majoring in politics, cast his first-ever election vote for Ms. Haley at the D.C. Primary on Friday. Self-identified as a moderate Republican, he told The Epoch Times shortly after he voted, “There’s definitely that presence of younger, moderate Republicans. They just need someone to follow or to speak for them.”

Super Tuesday looms when 874 delegates are up for grabs. The Republican candidate who wins 1,215 delegates becomes the de facto nominee. While President Trump will not be able to clinch enough delegates to clinch the nomination on Tuesday, he appears on track to do so by around mid-March.

Trump Supporter: ‘He Could Handle the Border’

Chinko Watkins, 41, an active D.C. Republican Party member, spoke to The Epoch Times when exiting the Madison Hotel on Sunday afternoon.

He said he voted for President Trump.

“I believe that out of the candidates, Donald Trump has the capability to actually win the primary and the [general] election,” he said. “He actually has a policy; whether people agree with it or not, he did have results. I think he contended and improved that he could handle the border.”

Originally from Boston, Mr. Watkins has lived in D.C. for over 16 years. As an African American, he said that his decision wasn’t affected by Sen. Tim Scott’s (R-S.C.) endorsement of President Trump. He had voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020.

He said his vote of confidence in President Trump is based on his ability to “make things work and propose policies that can have economic and social benefits for all people, not just one party or another.”

From The Epoch Times

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