CCU expert weighs in on Haley, Scott’s chances of winning South Carolina primary

Published: May. 26, 2023 at 11:18 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - As the Republican field grows ahead of the 2024 presidential election, the Palmetto State will be well represented by two big names in South Carolina politics.

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and South Carolina U.S. Senator Tim Scott have both announced they are running and hoping to win the Republican nomination.

Although Haley and Scott have ties to South Carolina, former President Donald Trump won South Carolina in 2016 and 2020 making this primary election even more interesting.

Nearly every national poll has the former president with a large lead over all of his fellow candidates.

Haley is however polling ahead of Scott who announced his run for the White House on Monday. Haley, who announced her bid in February, has since been campaigning for several months.

A recent poll shows 14% of South Carolina voters support Haley with 7% supporting Scott.

Coastal Carolina University political science expert, Dr. Holly Tankersley, said nearly everyone running against Trump was at one point his supporter.

She feels in order for Haley or Scott to make a push they’ll have to set their campaigns apart from everyone else.

“So far none of the candidates have really done anything to significantly criticize Trump,” Tankersley said.

Despite a few Democrats stepping up to challenge President Joe Biden, Tankersley does expect him to get the nomination in 2024.

While knocking off the former president is going to be a tough task, Tankersley believes Haley may have a slight edge over Scott.

She said Haley knows how to run a campaign when voters are split, winning the 2010 and 2014 South Carolina governor’s race in a very close and competitive election.

“Nikki Haley is more battle-tested than Senator Scott,” Tankersley said.

WMBF News asked Tankersley if either candidate could end up being a vice presidential running mate in 2024.

“Make no mistake I think when people run for president they want to be president, but getting the vice presidency is a nice consolation prize,” Tankersley said.

South Carolina is officially the first presidential primary voting state for the 2024 election cycle, after taking Iowa’s seat it held since 1972.