Apr 23, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Trump can't shake lingering primary protest votes in Pennsylvania

Former US President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Schnecksville Fire Hall in Schnecksville, Pennsylvania, US, on Saturday, April 13, 2024

Former President Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Schnecksville Fire Hall in Schnecksville, Pa., earlier this month. Photo: Hannah Beier/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A sizable share of Republican primary voters in Pennsylvania cast a ballot for former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley on Tuesday, despite former President Trump clinching his party's nomination over a month ago.

Why it matters: Pennsylvania could ultimately decide the election in November — and it's a state that President Biden won by about 80,500 votes in 2020. Haley received at least 147,000 votes in Pennsylvania's GOP primary on Tuesday, with over 90% of the vote counted.

  • Trump won by about 68,000 votes to beat Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Driving the news: Trump, who was projected to easily win Tuesday's GOP primary in Pennsylvania contest, won 84% of the vote with 92% of votes reported, AP projected.

  • Haley, who suspended her presidential campaign in early March, had received 17% of the vote as of 11:15 p.m. ET.

The big picture: Trump dominated the Republican primary, delivering decisive wins in every GOP primary state, but possible warning signs have since emerged for the former president in his bid to reclaim the White House.

  • In the key swing states of Arizona and Wisconsin, more than one-fifth of GOP primary voters cast a ballot for a non-Trump candidate during the state's primary contests.

Zoom in: Biden has faced a more organized protest vote effort from Democratic voters over his handling of of the Israel-Hamas war, but he's more successfully fended off the effort than his GOP rival.

  • In Wisconsin and Arizona, just over 10% of Democratic primary voters cast a ballot for a candidate other than Biden.
  • Organizers in Pennsylvania encouraged voters to support the "Abandon Biden" effort to protest Biden's handling of the war, but the number of voters who supported the movement was not known as of Tuesday night.

What to watch: The Pennsylvania primary comes as the presidential election has entered into a new phase for Trump, who, facing 34 felony counts in his New York criminal case, is largely campaigning from the courtroom as the trial plays out over the next several weeks.

  • Representatives for Trump did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Go deeper: Trump protest vote warnings

Editor's note: This article has been updated with the latest poll numbers.

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