US elections

Donald Trump seeks to blitz Republican contender Nikki Haley in ‘Super Tuesday’

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Donald Trump looks to cement his hold on the Republican presidential nomination Tuesday as the first polls open on one of the most important days of the US electoral calendar.

“Super Tuesday” -- the primary cycle’s largest single day of voting, with contests in 15 states and one territory -- is historically a defining moment in the race for the presidential nomination.

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But the suspense of previous election years will largely be absent this time around, with Trump expected to continue his sweep of Republican primary states, closing the door on sole remaining challenger Nikki Haley.

“We’ve been sort of in a rocket, we’ve been launching like a rocket, to the Republican nomination,” Trump told supporters at a weekend rally in Richmond, Virginia, touting his victories in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

But he made clear that he is already looking past the primary to the autumn presidential election itself, telling the crowd: “The biggest day in the history of our country is November 5.”

President Joe Biden, who trails Trump in most swing state polls for the general election, has his own primary contest on the Democratic side, but his victory is considered a formality.

Haley lost the early nominating states to Trump by wide margins, but has vowed to remain in the presidential contest at least until Super Tuesday voters have their say.

The lineup of states up for grabs includes the giant battlegrounds of California and Texas, allowing hopefuls to bag 70 percent of the delegates they need to be named the presumptive nominee.

Trump cannot mathematically close out the contest Tuesday night but expects to be anointed by March 19 at the latest, according to his campaign.

Post-Trump Republicans


Haley, 52, has been making an electability argument -- that the public has rejected Trumpism in almost every vote since 2016 and would do so again in November.

She also warns of the “chaos” surrounding a candidate who in just the last few months has been labeled an insurrectionist by a federal judge and found liable for sexual assault and business fraud running to hundreds of millions of dollars.

Trump -- who denies all wrongdoing -- also faces the threat of jail time from multiple federal and state felony charges, mostly for allegedly trying to cheat in or steal the 2016 and 2020 elections.

Trump, 77, has spent nine days in court this year alone, and complains that his prosecutions are keeping him from the campaign trail -- although many of his appearances have been voluntary, used afterward as part of his fundraising appeals.

As he makes his case for reelection in a televised address Tuesday at his south Florida beach club, Trump’s lawyers will be preparing their own arguments for his March 25 New York trial for alleged 2016 campaign finance violations.

Meanwhile the former president has been celebrating Supreme Court decisions delaying his 2020 federal election conspiracy trial in Washington -- possibly until after November -- and keeping him on the ballot in three states that wanted to exclude him as an insurrectionist.

Haley told NBC on Sunday she no longer feels bound to her Republican Party pledge to vote for Trump if he is the nominee -- sparking speculation over a potential third-party run.

Biden -- who delivers his annual State of the Union address from Congress on Thursday -- also faces division among Democrats, although he is expected to sail past challengers Dean Phillips and Marianne Williamson, both minor political figures, in his primary.

A New York Times survey published on Saturday flagged waning support among normally reliable constituencies like blue-collar workers and non-white voters.

Almost two-thirds of voters who supported the 81-year-old in 2020 say he is too old to lead the country effectively, according to the poll.

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