Nikki Haley to drop out of 2024 race, ending challenge against Trump for GOP presidential nomination: sources

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Thirteen months after she launched her 2024 Republican presidential campaign in Charleston, South Carolina, Nikki Haley is ending her White House bid, multiple sources confirmed to Fox News Digital.

The former two-term South Carolina governor, who later served as U.N. ambassador in former President Trump’s administration, is expected to say Wednesday morning that she is suspending her campaign for the GOP nomination, but she is not immediately expected to endorse Trump.

Haley is scheduled to speak Wednesday at 10 a.m. ET from her hometown of Charleston, where she is expected to say that her candidacy forced an important conversation and gave people an alternative to Trump.

The former president on Tuesday swept 14 of the 15 states from coast to coast that held Republican presidential primaries and caucuses on Super Tuesday, moving Trump much closer to locking up the GOP nomination and into a general election rematch with President Biden.

TRUMP, BIDEN, NEAR SWEEPS ON SUPER TUESDAY MOVE THEM MUCH CLOSER TO GENERAL ELECTION REMATCH

Republican presidential candidate former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley wraps up her speech at a campaign event in South Burlington, Vermont, on Sunday, March 3, 2024. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Haley, who for a month had said she would stay in the race at least through Super Tuesday, held no public event or speech on Tuesday night as she watched election results in private with her campaign team and remained mum on any plans going forward.

Trump’s near sweep of the Super Tuesday states – Haley narrowly edged the former president in Vermont – turned up the volume on calls by fellow Republicans for Haley to end her White House bid.

“I do think it is time for her to step aside and let the party rally fully around Donald Trump so that he can take Joe Biden on and beat him in November,” Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders – a former Trump White House press secretary who has endorsed the former president – said in an interview on Fox News “America Reports” Tuesday afternoon.

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However, in a “Fox and Friends” interview on Tuesday morning, as the polls opened in the Super Tuesday contests, Haley did not sound like a candidate dropping out.

“As much as everybody wants to go and push me out, I’m not ready to get out yet. I’m still sitting there fighting for the people that want a voice,” Haley emphasized.

In a statement Tuesday night, the Haley campaign said “we’re honored to have received the support of millions of Americans across the country today, including in Vermont where Nikki became the first Republican woman to win two presidential primary contests.”

Pointing to a bunch of Super Tuesday states where Haley captured anywhere from a quarter to over a third of the vote in the GOP contests, the campaign argued that “today, in state after state, there remains a large block of Republican primary voters who are expressing deep concerns about Donald Trump. That is not the unity our party needs for success. Addressing those voters’ concerns will make the Republican Party and America better.”

Donald Trump wins big on Super Tuesday

Republican presidential candidate former President Trump speaks at a Super Tuesday election night party Tuesday, March 5, 2024 at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Trump made no mention of Haley in his 20-minute-long victory speech Tuesday night in front of supporters at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida.

His campaign did not immediately comment or put out any statement after the news about Haley dropping out broke early Wednesday morning.

However, Taylor Budowich, who steers the Trump-aligned super PAC Make America Great Again Inc., in a statement Wednesday morning congratulated the former president “for vanquishing his opponents in record time. The same movement that powered President Trump to a primary victory will power him to a general election victory.”

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST SUPER TUESDAY RESULTS FROM FOX NEWS

While sources indicated that Haley was not expected to immediately endorse Trump, top Haley surrogate Rep. Ralph Norman of South Carolina told Fox News on Wednesday morning that “if not today, she will” endorse the former president.

Norman, who endorsed Haley a year ago, added in a “Fox and Friends” interview that “at the end of the day, she will come on board.”

The congressman added that he will reach out and call Trump in the coming hours.

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley speaks to supporters during her speech on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023 in Charleston, South Carolina. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)

In a Republican presidential field that topped a dozen candidates last summer, Haley was the final remaining rival to Trump, who for months has been the commanding frontrunner in the GOP race as he makes his third straight White House bid.

Haley – who in 2021 and 2022 made numerous trips to Iowa and New Hampshire, the two lead-off states in the Republican presidential nominating calendar – formally launched her 2024 campaign in February of last year. 

Haley polled in the single digits for much of last year and faced an uphill climb to win the nomination. However, courtesy of well-regarded performances in the late summer and autumn in the first three GOP primary debates, Haley grabbed momentum and saw her poll numbers soar.

That surge increased in December, as Haley caught up with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the latest Iowa polls and in national surveys, for a distant second place behind Trump.

FOX EXCLUSIVE: TRUMP REACTS TO SUPER TUESDAY VICTORIES

Haley zoomed to second place and narrowed the gap with Trump in New Hampshire, thanks in part to a crucial endorsement from Republican Gov. Chris Sununu.

Haley and Sununu at a polling station on primary day in New Hampshire

Former U.N. ambassador and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, a Republican presidential candidate, second from left, and New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, second from right, visit a polling station on Primary Day in New Hampshire on Jan. 23, 2024 in Hampton, New Hampshire. (Paul Steinhauser/Fox News)

Trump ended up winning the Jan. 15 Iowa caucuses by 30 points over DeSantis, with Haley finishing slightly behind the Florida governor in third place.

DeSantis, who was a distant third and mired in the single digits in the public opinion polls in New Hampshire, dropped out of the race two days before the primary, turning the GOP nomination battle into a two-candidate race between Haley and Trump.

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Haley, thanks to strong support from independents, won 43% of the vote in New Hampshire, finishing 11 points behind Trump.

After Trump scored landslides in the Nevada and U.S. Virgin Islands GOP caucuses in early February, the race moved to Haley’s home state of South Carolina.

While Haley campaigned relentlessly in her home state and Trump made only a handful of stops, the former president enjoyed the backing of South Carolina’s governor, both senators and scores of state lawmakers and officials. 

Donald Trump South Carolina

Former President Trump, center, speaks during an election night watch party at the South Carolina State Fairgrounds in Columbia, South Carolina, on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024. (Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

However, Haley remained defiant amid increasing calls by fellow Republicans for her to drop out of the race.

“I refuse to quit. South Carolina will vote on Saturday. But on Sunday, I’ll still be running for president. I’m not going anywhere,” Haley emphasized in a major speech a couple of days ahead of her home state primary.

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She emphasized that “I have no fear of Trump’s retribution.”

On the campaign trail days ahead of the South Carolina primary, Haley told her supporters, “I will take the bruises. I will take the cuts. This is going to be messy and I’ll take the hurt, because I believe nothing good comes easy. Sometimes we have to feel pain to appreciate the blessing.”

Haley also turned up the volume in her verbal attacks on Trump, from his legal entanglements to his controversial comments on NATO and the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, as well as his mocking of her husband, who is overseas on a military tour of duty.

She continued to spotlight both the 77-year-old Trump and 81-year-old President Biden’s verbal miscues as she repeatedly questioned their mental and physical durability and argued that it was time for a new generation to steer the country.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Republican presidential candidate former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks during her primary election night gathering at The Charleston Place on Feb. 24, 2024 in Charleston, South Carolina. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Trump ended up topping Haley by 20 points in South Carolina, and he followed that up with an even bigger win three days later in Michigan’s Republican presidential primary.

CHECK OUT THE LATEST REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY DELEGATE COUNT HERE

However, Haley kept going as she campaigned across the country in the 15 states from coast to coast that held Super Tuesday GOP nominating contests on March 5.

Trump rolled into Super Tuesday with plenty of momentum after sweeping the Michigan GOP’s party convention and winning large victories in the Missouri, Idaho and North Dakota caucuses.

“We’ve been launching like a rocket to the Republican nomination,” Trump touted Saturday night at a rally in Richmond, Virginia, as he pointed to his ballot box victories in Michigan, Missouri and Idaho.

However, Haley, who repeatedly highlighted that she would remain in the GOP nomination race at least through Super Tuesday despite the extremely long odds she faces, on Sunday enjoyed victory for the first time in the 2024 race.

Nikki Haley

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley speaks at a rally during the District of Columbia’s Republican presidential primary at the Madison Hotel in Washington, D.C., on Friday, March 1, 2024. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Haley topped Trump by roughly 30 points in Washington, D.C.’s Republican primary this past weekend. She captured 19 delegates and made history as the first woman to win a GOP presidential primary or caucus.

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Haley, who garnered strong support in the GOP primaries from independents and whose fundraising remained formidable, said she was staying in the race as an option for voters dissatisfied with a likely Biden-Trump rematch. 

Haley reiterated in an interview on Saturday with Fox News’ Bill Melugin that “we’re going to go as long as we’re competitive,” but she did not specifically define what competitive means.

Fox News contributor Karl Rove, the veteran GOP strategist and political mastermind behind former President George W. Bush’s two presidential election victories, emphasized that Super Tuesday was “a strong night for Donald Trump.”

Pointing to Haley’s solid support in a bunch of the Super Tuesday states, Rove said “the high command at Team Trump should be concerned about unifying the Republican Party… there’s still some work to be done.”

Longtime Republican strategist David Kochel noted that the Trump and Biden campaigns “are going to be fighting over these Nikki Haley voters.”

Joe Biden is the heavy favorite in Tuesday's Democratic presidential primary in Nevada

President Biden gestures to the audience after speaking at a campaign event in North Las Vegas on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

Biden, who faces nominal challenges from Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota and best-selling author and spiritual adviser Marianne Williamson, easily romped in the Democratic contests on Super Tuesday.

The president was on course to win nearly all the 1,420 Democratic delegates up for grabs on Tuesday and move much closer to the 1,968 needed to lock up renomination.

Biden did suffer a setback, as the Fox News Decision Desk projected he would lose the Democratic caucus in American Samoa to extreme long-shot candidate and entrepreneur Jason Palmer. 

Palmer was expected to win 4 delegates to the president’s two on the Pacific Ocean island territory. It was Biden’s first defeat in the 2024 Democratic nominating calendar.

More troubling for Biden was the continued discontent at the ballot box over his support for Israel in its war with Hamas.

A week after 13% of Democratic primary voters in Michigan cast ballots for “uncommitted” in protest of the president’s backing of Israel, nearly 20% voted “uncommitted” in Minnesota’s primary.

Fox News’ Bill Melugin and Sally Persons contributed to this report

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

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