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Trump, Haley face off in Michigan

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Former President Donald Trump and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley face off Tuesday in Michigan’s Republican presidential primary, the latest bout between the two remaining contenders. Polls are open until 8 p.m.

Real Clear Politics’ polling average has Trump leading Haley, a former United Nations ambassador in his administration, with 69%-17% in Michigan. Nationally, Trump leads Haley 77%-15%.

Due to an unusual process in the Great Lakes State, only 16 delegates will be awarded Tuesday with another 39 awarded on Saturday based on the preferences of representatives from congressional districts via caucuses.

The Michigan matchup comes after Trump handily defeated Haley by about 20 points in her home state of South Carolina over the weekend. After the win, Haley made clear she is not dropping out.

“I’m an accountant. I know 40% isn’t 50%,” Haley wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Sunday, referring to her part of the vote. “But I also know that 40% is not a small number. Americans deserve a choice in this election, and I have a duty to give it to them.”

Haley’s roughly 40% support outperformed the percentage pollsters predicted. Ahead of the vote Saturday, Real Clear Politics’ polling average had Haley at about 32%.

Regardless, Trump touted his victory.

“Leading Nikki Haley in Michigan GOP Primary, tomorrow, 67% to 15%, RCP AVERAGE,” Trump wrote on TruthSocial. “When will Nikki realize that she is just a bad candidate?”

So far, Trump has 110 delegates to Haley’s 20. Trump has won every state thus far. Michigan, like the just-completed South Carolina primary, allows delegates to be split. Only Nevada and the Virgin Islands are complete and had winner-take-all.

A candidate needs 1,215 delegates to win the nomination.

The Michigan vote on Tuesday also features Democrats’ presidential primary with no additional caucus to worry about. President Joe Biden faces Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn.; author Marianne Williamson has withdrawn. And Phillips is not considered a threat, not even appearing on the ballot in some states.

Trump’s supporters have called on Haley to drop out so Republicans can focus on beating Biden, who won in South Carolina on Feb. 3.

“Nikki Haley is the Democrat candidate in the Republican primary,” U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green, R-Ga., wrote on X.

“Nikki needs to drop out,” she added.

After Michigan, Republicans in Idaho and Missouri have caucuses on Saturday, and the District of Columbia has a primary on Sunday. The GOP has caucuses on Monday in North Dakota. Then it’s Super Tuesday, with 15 Republican and 14 Democratic primaries or caucuses.

Haley and her campaign are trying to continue to make the case to voters and donors that she has a chance of beating Trump.

One route to victory for Haley may include a conviction for Trump, who faces 91 criminal charges in three states and the District of Columbia. While Haley has not outright said she plans to step in if Trump is convicted, she has repeatedly attacked him for his legal issues.

“Trump is going to use the RNC as his own personal piggy bank to cover his constant legal bills,” Haley said on X going into the South Carolina vote. “There’s no way he can beat Joe Biden if he’s spending more time in the courtroom than on the campaign trail.”