Nikki Haley Planning Bus Tour Before SC Primaries

Nikki Haley is planning an ambitious bus tour through South Carolina in the lead-up to the Republican primary this month. By visiting towns and cities all across the state, she hopes to close the lead on Donald Trump and gain enough delegates from her home state to stay in the running.

Currently, Haley trails Donald Trump by 26 percentage points in the latest SC polls, putting a sizeable damper on her chances for victory. Many Republican voters seem eager to see Trump return to the presidency rather than have a new face in the Oval Office, and polls show SC voters typically trust Trump to deliver on conservative issues more than they trust Haley. Even if he were convicted of a crime, most Republican voters say they would still stick with Trump.

Haley’s bus tour starts on Saturday, and she will visit at least four different counties as some of her first stops. She also plans to visit Bamberg, Clemson and Lexington, cities where Haley lived, attended college and raised her children. Haley’s campaign likely hopes these connections with her home state will bolster her chances of getting more voter turnout.

One of Haley’s criticisms of Trump has been that he hasn’t been engaged in South Carolina while she’s been traveling across the state for weeks. This weekend, though, Trump will host a rally in the city of Conway before heading to more events in the following weeks. The official primary is on February 24, but both candidates are trying to drum up early voter support in the lead-up to the official election day.

Haley’s campaign is calling her tour the “Beast of the Southeast” bus tour, and they’re hoping to use it to utilize it as a “testament to Nikki’s hard work and firm belief that every vote must be earned.” This primary is the first in the South this year and may act as a crucial litmus test for how that region views these two candidates.

South Carolina’s 50 delegates will be crucial for both candidates as they try to secure the party’s nomination. It is a “winner takes most” style primary, where the state’s overall winner takes 29 delegates, and then the winner of each of the state’s seven congressional districts takes three more delegates. While it is doubtful Haley can pull off an overall win, she may try to secure some of the districts and pull a few of the delegates away from Trump.