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Assessing Claims That Nikki Haley Is ‘Claiming Victory’ After Primary and Caucus Losses
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Assessing Claims That Nikki Haley Is ‘Claiming Victory’ After Primary and Caucus Losses

Haley conceded that Trump won after both Iowa and New Hampshire.

Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley speaks after results came in for the New Hampshire primary during a watch party in Concord, New Hampshire, on January 23, 2024. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso/AFP/Getty Images)

A number of media headlines and social media posts have caused confusion over whether Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley has claimed victory for her second and third place finishes, respectively, in New Hampshire and Iowa’s Republican presidential nominating contests. 

“She keeps claiming victory when she loses,” conservative commentator Mark Levin said in a tweet responding to the speech Haley delivered the night of the New Hampshire primary.

On Wednesday, the Associated Press published a story that made a similar assertion in its headline.

While Haley is certainly trying to frame her performances in Iowa and New Hampshire in a positive light, she has also acknowledged Donald Trump’s victories early in her speeches. “I want to congratulate President Trump on his victory tonight. He earned it, and I want to acknowledge that,” Haley remarked in New Hampshire. In Iowa, she said something similar: “I want to congratulate President Trump on his win tonight.”

Despite her acknowledgement of Trump’s victory, Haley’s campaign is still working hard to frame the former South Carolina governor as the only feasible alternative to the former president. “At one point in this campaign, there were 14 of us running. I was at 2 percent in the polls, but tonight Iowa did what Iowa will always does so well,” Haley said in the same Iowa speech. “The pundits will analyze the results from every angle, we get that. But when you look at how we’re doing in New Hampshire, in South Carolina, and beyond, I can safely say tonight, Iowa made this Republican primary a two-person race.” 

Haley made similarly confident assertions following her second-place finish in New Hampshire. “Now, you’ve all heard the chatter among the political class. They’re falling all over themselves saying this race is over,” she said. “Well, I have news for all of them: New Hampshire is first in the nation, it is not the last in the nation. This race is far from over, there are dozens of states left to go.”

Trump currently holds a projected 32 delegates from his victories in Iowa and New Hampshire, nearly double Haley’s projected 17 delegates thus far. Both campaigns are now turning their focus to courting voters in Haley’s home state of South Carolina, who head to the polls on February 24. Nevada will hold its primary contest on February 6, however it will only award delegates for results in the state’s caucus two days later. Haley, who chose not to participate in the party-run caucus, will not be eligible to receive any of Nevada’s 26 delegates.

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Alex Demas is a fact checker at The Dispatch and is based in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the company in 2023, he worked in England as a financial journalist and earned his MA in Political Economy at King's College London. When not heroically combating misinformation online, Alex can be found mixing cocktails, watching his beloved soccer team Aston Villa lose a match, or attempting to pet stray cats.