Trump defeated Haley in Michigan, his sixth consecutive victory

Former President Donald J. Trump won the Republican presidential primary in Michigan on Tuesday, moving closer to a general election rematch against President Biden.

Mr. Biden easily won the election, although he faced strong opposition from voters protesting his staunch support for Israel and its military campaign in Gaza by voting not for another candidate, but for a “noncommittal.” The Associated Press announced both contests as soon as the final polls closed at 9 p.m. ET.

Mr Trump’s victory over Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, extends his unbroken streak in the nominating contests. Michigan is his sixth straight victory and his second, behind Nevada, in a state expected to be a key battleground in November.

“We won Michigan, we were winning the whole thing,” Mr. Trump told supporters at a Michigan GOP watch party over the phone after the race was called, according to a transcript of the call provided by his campaign. He added that the results on Tuesday were “far higher than expected”.

At 10:45 p.m. ET, Mr. Trump had 67 percent of the vote to Ms. Haley’s 28 percent, while 3 percent had ballots marked “not committed.” Mr Trump said in a radio interview earlier in the day that he expected Ms Haley to “lose about 80 points”.

Mr. Trump and his team were eager to look beyond the primaries, citing his early state victories as evidence that it was time for Ms. Haley to step down.

The former president, who faces 91 felony charges in four separate criminal cases, is also under time pressure as he seeks to complete his nomination. His first criminal trial is scheduled to begin in Manhattan at the end of March.

During a campaign break in Michigan this week, Ms. Haley also focused heavily on the general election, arguing that she is a far better candidate to take on Mr. Biden.

In a statement after the race was called, a spokeswoman for Haley’s campaign, Olivia Perez-Cubas, said the share of Republican voters who did not support Mr. Trump was “a glaring warning sign for Mr. Trump in November.” She also noted that since Mr. Trump was elected to the White House in 2016, Republicans have lost the Michigan governor’s mansion, as well as both chambers of the state legislature Democrats.

Ms. Haley, who continued to court donors and reported raising $16.5 million in January, said she would continue to compete through Super Tuesday contests on March 5. So far, she has picked up delegates in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, but she trails Mr. Trump significantly in the overall tally.

Ms. Haley will pick up delegates in Michigan. Sixteen of the state’s 55 delegates were available Tuesday, and they will be distributed proportionally based on the total number of votes. Ms. Haley was presented with at least two awards, according to the Associated Press on Tuesday night.

But Mr. Trump is the heavy favorite to receive a majority of the remaining 39 delegates because he remains extremely popular among Republicans. They will be awarded on Saturday, when rival factions of the Michigan Republican Party are set to hold dueling conventions after a months-long leadership battle that has thrown the state party into disarray.

Both parties are led by people loyal to Mr. Trump, although Republicans in the state appear divided between factions.

Pete Hoekstra, a former congressman and former ambassador to the Netherlands under Mr. Trump, has been formally recognized by the Republican National Committee as state party chairman. Mr. Trump supported him for the post after a number of state party officials voted last month to remove Kristina Karamo, a 2020 election denier who took control last year, from the post.

Ms. Karamo, one of several far-right activists who rose to the top of state Republican parties while supporting Trump’s bogus claims of voter fraud, refused to accept her ouster. She claimed that the vote for her dismissal and the election of Mr. Hoekstra were illegitimate.

A judge on Tuesday essentially ordered Ms. Karamo to stand aside, ruling that she had been legitimately removed from her position and ordering her not to pose as a party leader or conduct business on behalf of the party. But Ms. Karamo did not tell reporters whether she planned to abandon her plans for the convention on Saturday.

Mr. Trump did not campaign heavily in Michigan before the election, holding only one rally this year. However, the state is expected to be critical in November after swings in the last two elections.

Mr. Trump carried the state by nearly 11,000 votes in 2016, helping him defeat Hillary Clinton and win the White House. Four years later, Mr. Biden beat him in Michigan by a more comfortable 154,000 votes — and in 2022, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat who strongly supported Mr. Biden, ran for re-election as Democrats took control of the Legislature.

In a statement on Tuesday, Mr. Biden briefly celebrated his victory in the Michigan primary, then almost immediately turned to attacking Mr. Trump in an overview of their general election battle.

Mr. Trump has made Michigan a target in his efforts to reverse his 2020 election defeat, and Michigan’s attorney general last year filed criminal charges against 16 Republicans for impersonating voters from the state. Those Republicans were part of a larger plan to create fake voter rolls promised to Mr. Trump in the battleground states he lost to Mr. Biden.

Campaigning for the White House this year, the former president continued to promote the lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him.

Nicholas Nehamas contributed to the reporting.

Leave a Comment