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Democrats warn voters against supporting Haley in South Carolina

South Carolina Democrats, working to make a show of strength for President Biden in their party’s primary Saturday, would like to remind their voters that Nikki Haley is not the moderate Republican some might believe.

In recent weeks, party leaders have placed Ms. Haley at the center of their events across the state, calling her the “mother of the MAGA movement” and regaling attendees with lists of the ultraconservative policies she has championed during her two terms as governor.

For any Democrats considering skipping Saturday’s primary and entering the Republican runoff three weeks later, the party’s message is very clear: Don’t do it.

“I had to sue her to get married,” Colleen Condon, gay and non-binary first vice chair of South Carolina Democrats, told fellow party members at the First in the Nation dinner Saturday. “Don’t let your friends go vote in this primary. Please.”

Ms. Haley showed strength to Democrats and independents in the first two nominating contests in Iowa and New Hampshire. She narrowed the field to a head-to-head race against former President Donald J. Trump after other GOP rivals withdrew, failing to win over a base that was still loyal to him.

In fact, the last candidate between Mr. Trump and the nomination, she faces great difficulties in her home state, where the Republican electorate is even friendlier towards her opponent. To achieve her goal of doing better than her 43 percent score in New Hampshire, she will most likely have to expand her coalition or cobble together a new one.

The Democrats’ warning is the latest sign of how divergent primary election dates between the parties have muddled politics in this key early voting state. South Carolina’s open primary system allows voters of any party to participate in either primary election. Democrats set their primary date for December 2022 while Republicans, seeking to focus national attention on their contest after the Nevada caucuses and early February primaries, set their primary date for late February. month.

There is no indication that any significant number of Democrats have so far been influenced by Ms. Haley’s camp. Those considering supporting Ms. Haley on Feb. 24 say they feel obligated to at least consider that possibility because their own primary is very uncompetitive. (Mr. Biden is running against Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota and Marianne Williamson, a self-employed author, two candidates with little presence in the state.) Some said they thought voting for Ms. Haley could help sharpen what shows polls. a gaping gap in the race between her and Mr. Trump.

Bill Samuels, a 73-year-old retiree from Beaufort, said he and his wife were among the Democratic voters planning to vote for Ms. Haley in the Republican primary as registered independents.

“I mean, who is Biden running against? asked Mr. Samuels as he waited for news from the Democrats in the small parlor of Singleton’s Barbershop in Beaufort.

Jon Coffey, a Democratic voter sitting next to him, said he, too, was considering running for the opposing party. “It’s a good strategy,” he said.

But he later expressed doubts about efforts to elevate Ms. Haley. “You have to be careful when you start playing with fire in a primary,” Mr. Coffey said. “This could backfire.”

A spokeswoman for Ms. Haley, Olivia Perez-Cubas, said: “Nothing would make Democrats happier than Donald Trump being the Republican nominee. »

Pointing to national polls that suggest Ms. Haley could beat Mr. Biden in a general election by a larger margin than Mr. Trump, Ms. Perez-Cubas said of the former president: “They know Biden can. beat “.

Republicans, for their part, approved changing election rules for partisan primary elections that would allow voters to vote only in primaries for the party with which they are registered. Drew McKissick, chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, called the state’s open primary system “the worst of all worlds.”

“We think the most important thing a party can do is nominate a candidate and get them elected,” he said. “So when we do the most important thing we do, we should limit it to people who actually support our party.”

Ms Haley’s campaign sought to convey that message to voters wanting an alternative to a general election rematch between Mr Trump and Mr Biden – but rather than openly appeal to Democratic voters looking for a moderate , his allies highlighted his reputation as a staunch conservative.

Democratic leaders in the Palmetto State have sought to portray Ms. Haley as a politician whose national ambitions have led her to push for some of the most conservative policies in state history, specifically pointing out that She signed a 20-week abortion ban while governor in 2016 and refused to do so. expand Medicaid.

“I think anyone can look normal next to Trump. And for me, it’s important to remind South Carolina Democrats who Nikki Haley is,” Christale Spain, chairwoman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, said in an interview.

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Jewel Beaujolie

I am a fashion designer in the past and I currently write in the fields of fashion, cosmetics, body care and women in general. I am interested in family matters and everything related to maternal, child and family health.
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