Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley wants to continue her campaign after a bruising loss Tuesday in the New Hampshire Republican primary.
“This is a delegate fight,” a Haley adviser told CNN’s Jeff Zeleny. “We are just getting started.”
In the current delegate fight, Haley has a lot of work to do. After New Hampshire, former President Donald Trump has 32 delegates to Haley’s 17. In this regard, there is a long way to go. Winning the GOP nomination requires at least 1,215 out of 2,429 delegates awarded as part of the primary process.
In years without an incumbent, like Republicans are experiencing in 2024, the winner frequently does not hit the magic number until May or even June. In 2016 — the first of his three White House runs so far — Trump hit the magic number on May 26.
But he did not win every primary and caucus in 2016. So far in 2024, he has. Haley would need to quickly begin winning contests of her own to eat into his delegate lead. For now, delegates are being awarded proportionally, which means Haley can still win some delegates even when she loses a primary. That changes after March 15, when states can switch to a winner-take-all format.
The next date on the calendar for Republicans are caucuses in Nevada and the US Virgin Islands. In those, only registered Republicans can take part. Haley, who has not filed for the Nevada caucuses, has lost registered Republicans in both Iowa and New Hampshire, according to exit polls. She has also trailed in the polls in South Carolina, which has a much smaller portion of independent voters than New Hampshire, a state Haley just lost.
If Haley is determined to make this a delegate fight, she faces a seriously uphill battle.