Feb 26, 2024 - Politics

Nikki Haley arrives in Trump-friendly Colorado hunting for independent voters

Nikki Haley speaks during a campaign event in Michigan on Feb. 25, 2024. Photo: Emily Elconin/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Nikki Haley speaks during a campaign event in Michigan on Sunday. Photo: Emily Elconin/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Nikki Haley is entering enemy territory as her presidential bid nears its last gasp.

State of play: The GOP presidential candidate is campaigning in Colorado Tuesday even though the state Republican Party endorsed former President Trump before the primary officially began.

Why it matters: The trip ahead of Super Tuesday's vote demonstrates the Haley campaign's desperation after her double-digit loss in her home state of South Carolina, where she served as governor for six years.

The intrigue: Haley sees opportunity in Colorado, much like she did in New Hampshire, because the state allows unaffiliated voters, who favor Democratic and more centrist positions, to cast ballots in either major party's primary.

  • Trump's standing in Colorado is sliding downward, according to a recent poll, with just 36% viewing him favorably.

Yes, but: Haley doesn't have the financial resources to put Colorado in play. She has one organizer on the ground and her state leadership team doesn't include big-name Republicans.

What we're watching: Whether unaffiliated voters will participate in the GOP race because the Democratic primary is largely uncontested. Through Sunday, less than 10% of unaffiliated voters cast ballots, the secretary of state reported.

The latest: In recent weeks, the Colorado GOP doubled down on its endorsement, which came ahead of the Iowa caucuses in January, by sending fundraising appeals for the Trump campaign and attacking Haley for her ties to the Koch political network.

Between the lines: The Colorado GOP governing body's endorsement violated its own bylaws against taking sides in party primaries, riling activists who don't want to see Trump as the party's candidate.

What they're saying: "The Colorado Republican Party is more than happy to stand with President Trump because he risked it all to stand for this country," Williams said in a statement.

Data: Federal Election Commission; Chart: Axios Visuals

By the numbers: In another sign of Trump's dominance, the former president holds a lead in campaign donations from Colorado, an Axios Denver analysis shows.

  • Yes, but: He trails President Biden's campaign fundraising in the state.
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