Donald Trump beats Nikki Haley in South Carolina primary

I have never seen the Republican Party so unified as it is right now, says the former US president

Donald Trump (photo: @DonaldTrump/Facebook)
Donald Trump (photo: @DonaldTrump/Facebook)
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DW

Former US president Donald Trump went into Saturday's Republican primary in South Carolina as the front-runner and emerged victorious over the state's former governor Nikki Haley.

The Associated Press declared Trump the winner as polls closed at 7 p.m. EST, based on a survey of Republican voters in the state. Projections by CNN and NBC also declared Trump the winner.

"I have never seen the Republican Party so unified as it is right now," Trump said in a victory speech delivered moments after polls closed.

He did not mention Haley once in about 30 minutes of remarks.

Despite losing in her home state, Haley has vowed to stay in the race.

I said earlier this week that no matter what happens in South Carolina, I would continue to run... I'm a woman of my word. I'm not giving up this fight when a majority of Americans disapprove of both Donald Trump and Joe Biden
Nikki Haley, former South Carolina governor

"I said earlier this week that no matter what happens in South Carolina, I would continue to run... I'm a woman of my word. I'm not giving up this fight when a majority of Americans disapprove of both Donald Trump and Joe Biden," she said after the vote.

The result is Trump's fifth straight win during primary season after victories in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and the US Virgin Islands.

However, his margin of victory was not immediately clear.

Voters unswayed by Trump's legal battles

Haley spent much of the campaign in her home state pointing out that 77-year-old Trump faces four criminal indictments.

But nearly two-thirds (65%) of Republican primary voters said Trump would still be fit for the presidency if he were convicted of a crime, according to exit polls.

The same percentage of those who voted said they do not think US President Joe Biden legitimately won the presidency in 2016, the polls showed.

Rather than the charges against Trump, voters told pollsters they were most concerned about immigration (41%) and the economy (31%). Abortion policy was most important to 10% of primary voters and foreign policy was the top issue for 11%, according to exit polls.

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