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Trump, Nikki Haley face off as voters head to the polls

Beto O’Rourke urges Michigan voters to vote against Biden in Democratic primary

Ahead of Tuesday’s Michigan Democratic primary, former presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke is urging voters to vote “uncommitted” in the primary, rather than for Biden.

“I do think it makes sense for those who want to see this administration do more, or do a better job, to exert that political pressure and get the president’s attention and the attention of those on his campaign so that the United States does better,” O’Rourke told the Michigan Advance on Friday, referring to the Biden administration’s refusal to call for a ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas.

“We should have a cease-fire. There should be a return of each [and] every single one of those hostages [taken by Hamas]. There should be an end to this war and there should be a negotiated solution to Palestinian statehood,” O’Rourke said, adding, “All of that needs to happen, and I share the concern that the United States is not doing close to enough to bring those things to pass.”

Last week, Rep. Rashida also urged Michigan Democrats to vote uncommitted, saying, “We want to stand up for every single life killed in Gaza.”

Trump supporters bank on his experience in the White House

Two Trump voters in Columbia today told NBC News they’re voting for the former president because he already has experience in the White House.

“I just know that [Trump’s] had the experience as president before and I liked his job when he was,” Frances, who asked not to share her last name, told NBC News.

Another voter, William Hunt, said, “He did a good job the first time around and I think he’s the best person.”

Asked why he didn’t vote for Haley, Hunt said, “I think she’s a little light … not quite as strong as he is.”

South Carolina couple splits their votes in GOP primary

Mt. Pleasant Republican couple Karen and Matt Yeates cast their ballots this afternoon in the South Carolina GOP primary — for different candidates.

Karen voted for Haley and Matt voted for Trump. In many ways, the couple — who have been married for 32 years — personify the split in the today’s GOP.

Karen, who described who her husband voted for as “like a 12-year-old boy, basically,” said she wanted to vote for someone with “emotional intelligence” and mentioned “choices and rights,” which she said included abortion rights, among her top issues.

Matt said the border and the economy were his top issues, and that while he respects Haley, “this is a time where we need someone that’s already done great things for the country and will continue to do great things.”

When asked how politics play into their relationship, Karen said, “Our kids have asked us not to talk about it because it’s gotten heated in the past.”

South Carolina sees high early-voting turnout in the first year it’s offered

This year marks the first presidential primary in which an early-voting period has been offered in South Carolina — and voters are seizing on the opportunity to cast their votes ahead of primary day.

Roughly 205,000 voters have already voted in this year’s primary, according the South Carolina Election Commission. That’s up from about 60,000 absentee votes in the 2016 Republican presidential primary.

A 2022 law established a two-week early-voting period.

Haley and allies have outspent Trump on S.C. ads nearly 10 to 1

If Haley falls short to Trump in South Carolina’s Republican primary, as the public polling suggests, it won’t be because of a lack of spending on TV ads.

In fact, Haley and the main super PAC supporting her, SFA Fund Inc., have outspent Trump and his allies over the airwaves by nearly a 10-to-1 margin in the Palmetto State, according to ad-spending data from AdImpact.

Haley’s campaign has spent $5.6 million for ads in the state (like this one knocking Trump over his “chaos”), while SFA Fund has spent an additional $5.4 million (with messages like this one calling to “turn the page”).

By comparison, Trump’s campaign has spent $1.2 million over the airwaves in South Carolina (on ads like this one attacking Haley for wanting to reform Social Security and Medicare).

This nearly 10-to-1 ad spending advantage for team Haley doesn’t even include the millions that groups like Americans for Prosperity, which have backed Haley, also have spent on ads in the Palmetto State.

Haley’s dominance over the advertising airwaves continues a trend we saw in Iowa and New Hampshire, where SFA Fund was the single largest advertiser.

McMaster doesn’t think Democrats will ’cause mischief’ in GOP primary

COLUMBIA, South Carolina — After casting his ballot this morning, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said he doesn’t suspect Democrats will “cause mischief” in the GOP primary today.

Efforts to affect the results of South Carolina’s primary, which is open, meaning that Democrats can cast votes, have never “really materialized,” McMaster said.

McMaster, who has endorsed Trump, declined to say whether Haley should drop out of the race.

He said it’s up to each individual candidate to make that decision and that he doesn’t really have any message to share with her.

When asked whether Haley has a political future after this, McMaster said, “You cannot predict politics. You never know.”

Haley cast her vote in the South Carolina GOP primary as polls show Trump with a heavily favored lead.

Whitmer: Alabama embryo ruling is ‘natural extension’ of Dobbs

LANSING, Michigan — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer told reporters today that the Alabama Supreme Court ruling impacting IVF “is a natural extension of what we were worried about with the fall of Roe v. Wade.”

She added that one of the things she’s heard from around her state is “the fear that we would see this new Supreme Court render a decision that would start impacting everything from IVF to, you know, all of the panoply of health care decisions that women and our families have to make over the course of a lifetime.”

The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, allowing at least a dozen states to implement abortion restrictions. Abortion remains legal in Michigan.

Donald Trump Jr. touts South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott as potential VP pick

Donald Trump Jr. speaks to media at a rally for his father, Donald Trump, on Feb. 23, 2024 in Charleston, SC.
Donald Trump Jr. at a rally for his father, Donald Trump, on Friday in Charleston, S.C.Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images

Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. is applauding speculation that South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott could be his father’s running mate.

Asked whether there was “anyone [he’d] like to see” get tapped, Trump Jr. mentioned Scott, who notably endorsed Trump last month over Haley despite Haley appointing Scott to his Senate seat.

“Tim’s a good friend of mine. Tim’s a great guy, you know. So these are all — I think my father mentioned some of those as potentials, and there’s probably a couple that he didn’t mention that are potentials, and we’ll see,” Trump Jr. said yesterday at Trump’s South Carolina headquarters in North Charleston.

Trump Jr. added that it was “not my call to make.”

Haley says her goal in South Carolina is to ‘get it competitive’

Haley answered questions yesterday about her expectations, motivations and next steps heading into her home state’s primary.

On her expectations, she told Fox News, “The goal, I have always said, is to get it competitive.”

She also swatted down the possibility of joining a unity ticket with Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips.

“I’m a Republican. I’m running as a Republican,” she said. “I’m running trying to wake people up that if they nominate Donald Trump in this primary, we will lose a general election. Mark my words.”

Nevada abortion-rights group kicks off 2024 ballot effort

A coalition of reproductive rights groups in Nevada is formally launching an effort Saturday to place an amendment on the November ballot that would enshrine abortion rights in the battleground state’s constitution.

But its kickoff event won’t be exclusively geared toward abortion rights.

Rather, organizers at Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom, the group leading the ballot effort, will also look to drive enthusiasm by drawing attention to the recent Alabama Supreme Court ruling that found embryos created through in vitro fertilization are considered children.

Read the full story here.

What to watch for in South Carolina

Twenty years ago, Nikki Haley ran an upstart campaign to topple a heavily favored longtime incumbent who was a force in party politics, launching her political career and setting the stage for her gubernatorial run six years later.

But this time, voters in the district and county she represented as a state legislator don’t think she’s on the verge of pulling off another upset when she goes up against Donald Trump on Saturday.

Dave Mauldin, an unaffiliated voter from Lexington who is voting for Haley “just to try and screw [Trump] over,” said he expects “the Trump wave is going to be like a tsunami.”

Read the full story here.

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