Nikki Haley Turns to Michigan Ahead of Tuesday’s Primary

Nikki Haley Turns to Michigan Ahead of Tuesday’s Primary

Michigan is a general election battleground, and Nikki Haley, defeated again by former President Donald J. Trump in South Carolina, has for months made a general election pitch.

Mr. Trump can’t win in November, she has argued, and will most likely say so again on Sunday at her rally in Detroit. Mr. Trump narrowly lost Michigan to Joseph R. Biden Jr. in 2020 after a presidential term alienating independents and suburban women, the segments of the electorate that make up a strong part of Ms. Haley’s small but not insignificant base. And her campaign has counted the state as one of more than a dozen that are critical to her path to the nomination because they have primaries not limited to registered Republicans.

But the difficulty for Ms. Haley in Michigan, which holds its primary on Tuesday, is similar to that in the early-voting states: She’s running for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, and the base is sticking with him. The strength she has shown with more moderate voters, even Democrats, has not been enough to overcome his significant advantage.

Richard Czuba, an independent pollster in Lansing, Mich., said the state had a long history of Republican and Democratic voters crossing over in presidential primaries to upend contests and send a message. But he predicted little chance of that for Ms. Haley. The results of the state’s Republican primary this year are seemingly such a foregone conclusion, mostly thanks to Mr. Trump’s dominance, that his polling firm had even stopped bothering to survey voters, he added.

“There is no race,” he said.

Ms. Haley’s campaign only began running its first television advertisements in the state last week, targeting the Detroit area with part of what her officials said was a half-million-dollar buy in the state. Her allied super PAC reported spending a further half a million for ads in the Michigan market as of Saturday, after her loss in South Carolina, according to federal filings.

Ms. Haley is arriving in the state with little to no momentum, even as she has continued to amass donations. She is expected to hold more fund-raisers across the country this week, after another scheduled rally on Monday in Grand Rapids.

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