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Nikki Haley Drops Out of Republican Presidential Race, Leaving Only Donald Trump

Super Tuesday dealt the final blows to Haley's underdog campaign as Trump barrels toward a 2024 rematch with Joe Biden. Still, the former South Carolina governor said, "I have no regrets"

<p>Rachel Mummey/Bloomberg via Getty </p> Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley proved the strongest challenger to Donald Trump in the 2024 Republican primaries

Rachel Mummey/Bloomberg via Getty

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley proved the strongest challenger to Donald Trump in the 2024 Republican primaries

Nikki Haley suspended her 2024 presidential campaign on Wednesday morning, accepting Republican voters' clear preference to keep Donald Trump in the driver's seat of the GOP.

Saying she was "filled with gratitude" for the support she had received in the little more than a year since launching her campaign, Haley told a South Carolina crowd, "I wanted Americans to have their voices heard. I have done that. I have no regrets."

Elsewhere in her remarks, she said, "In all likelihood Donald Trump will be the party nominee," adding, "I wish him well." But she stopped short of endorsing the former president, citing a quote by late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher: "Never just follow the crowd, always make up your own mind."

"It is now up to Donald Trump to earn the votes of those in the party who did not support him," Haley added.

Related: Nikki Haley Requests Secret Service Protection amid Rise in Threats

<p>Rachel Mummey/Bloomberg via Getty </p>

Rachel Mummey/Bloomberg via Getty

The former South Carolina governor beat the odds in a crowded primary race when she emerged as the strongest challenger to Trump in January — but as he secured victory after victory, the delegate math proved near-impossible for Haley to overcome. After Super Tuesday, at which point she had only won two out of 26 contests, her fate was sealed.

Trump now finds himself solidly on course to challenge incumbent Joe Biden in November, so long as his legal challenges don't interfere.

Related: Chris Christie Caught on Hot Mic Saying Nikki Haley Will ‘Get Smoked’ by Trump: ‘She’s Not Up for This’

<p>Joe Raedle/Getty</p> Nikki Haley speaks to Iowans on the night of the Republican caucuses on Jan. 15, 2024

Joe Raedle/Getty

Nikki Haley speaks to Iowans on the night of the Republican caucuses on Jan. 15, 2024

Haley, 52, was elected South Carolina's first female governor in 2010 and served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under Trump from January 2017 until her resignation in December 2018.

After leaving the Trump administration, she both embraced and pushed back against her former boss, at one point calling his rhetoric "so unnecessary" and at another saying he "tells the world what it needs to hear."

She officially declared her candidacy for president in February 2023, announcing the campaign on social media with a promise to prioritize fiscal responsibility, border security and foreign relations.

Related: Nikki Haley Reacts After Trump Says He's 'Encouraged' Russia to 'Do Whatever the Hell They Want' to Some NATO Allies

<p> Adam Glanzman/Bloomberg via Getty</p> Nikki Haley at a New Hampshire campaign event on Jan. 16, 2024

Adam Glanzman/Bloomberg via Getty

Nikki Haley at a New Hampshire campaign event on Jan. 16, 2024

Haley was one of the few Republican candidates to go after Trump during the election cycle — even as he maintained a significant lead in the polls.

Her piercing critiques of the former president resonated with GOP voters demanding a more stable leader, and allowed her to nab a spotlight once dominated by extremist candidates like Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy, who both endorsed Trump immediately after dropping out.

Related: Mitt Romney Explains Why He Would ‘Absolutely Not’ Vote for Trump over Biden

In an August presidential debate, she called Trump, 77, "the most disliked politician in America."

“It is time for a new generational conservative leader," Haley said during the debate, which aired on Fox News. "We have to look at the fact that three-quarters of Americans don't want a rematch between Trump and Biden. And we have to face the fact that Trump is the most disliked politician in America. We can't win a general election that way."

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In the same debate, she criticized Trump over his handling of federal spending, saying, "Donald Trump added $8 trillion to our debt, and our kids are never going to forgive us for this."

Trump did not participate in any of the Republican presidential debates in an unprecedented show of confidence, aiming to secure the party's nomination by firing up his existing base on social media and holding his own town halls on networks like Fox News and CNN. For his part, the strategy worked.

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