Feb 27, 2024 - Politics

Nikki Haley says Trump can't win, asks Colorado voters to "go with something new"

A campaign sign at a Nikki Haley rally Feb. 26 in Minnesota. Minnesota holds its primary election on March 5. Photo: David Berding/Getty Images

A campaign sign at a Nikki Haley rally Feb. 26 in Minnesota. Photo: David Berding/Getty Images

Nikki Haley blamed the demise of Republican fortunes in Colorado — and the nation — on former President Trump, saying Tuesday at a campaign stop outside Denver that "you have to have a leader that has moral clarity."

The big picture: The former South Carolina governor continued to escalate her warnings about what Trump's nomination would mean for the party ticket in November as Coloradans continue to return mail ballots for its Super Tuesday primary and Michigan polls prepared to close.

What she's saying: "If states like Colorado and Michigan and Minnesota want to start winning again, you have to have someone on the ticket who can win a general election. … Donald Trump cannot win," she said at the campaign rally.

  • Her remarks drew chants of "don't quit" from a few hundred supporters in the crowd, none of which were prominent party leaders.
  • Colorado GOP leaders endorsed Trump before the Iowa primary even began, despite it violating their bylaws requiring neutrality.

State of play: No statewide Republican candidate in Colorado has received more than 45% in an election since Trump's win in 2016, as Haley noted. She blamed Trump for decimating the party and its values.

Zoom in: She implored voters — including those unaffiliated with the major parties who can participate in either Colorado primary — that "there's a decision to make."

  • "We can either go with more of the same or we can go with something new. More of the same is not just Joe Biden, more of the same is also Donald Trump," she said.

Between the lines: Haley's allies in Colorado reinforced the message, saying they want a return to normal.

  • "I'm just so glad to have a candidate who is going to focus on actual issues instead of settling personal scores," said Suzanne Staiert, a Haley supporter and Republican attorney. "I can't imagine a better candidate to lead us out of this abyss."

The bottom line: Haley's making Trump's weaknesses in battleground states her closing message as her campaign loses its grip ahead of Super Tuesday's decisive vote.

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