Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley insisted on Thursday that she won't actually have to win in her home state in order to achieve victory there -- after two huge losses in the first two states to vote in the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
Speaking with reporters after a campaign event in South Carolina, Haley was asked what winning looks like for her in the state's Republican primary on Feb. 24.
"I think making sure it's a competitive race, making sure that it looks close. If we do that -- that'll head us on into Michigan and Super Tuesday and that's what we're looking at," she said.
Asked if she would stay in the race with a second-place finish, she asserted that she's "not going anywhere."
"This is about just closing that gap," she said.
Her campaign was not, she said, "an anti-Trump movement."
"At the end of the day, I'm doing this because the party that comes out with a new generational leader is the party that's gonna win," she said. "I'm doing this because I don't want my kids to live like this."
Haley has emerged as the last remaining major alternative to former President Donald Trump in the GOP's nominating race after rival Ron DeSantis ended his campaign in January in the wake of a distant second-place finish in the Iowa caucuses.
Haley came in third in Iowa, just behind DeSantis, but quickly celebrated a stronger showing in the New Hampshire primary where she trailed Trump by roughly 11 points.
She has argued, as she did again on Thursday, that her strategy is to lose by less and less to Trump and then, at some point around Super Tuesday in March, when many states vote at once, begin to overtake him.
"We went from 2% to 20% in Iowa. Then we went, we got 43% [in] New Hampshire. But you know what the tall tale of that is? Donald Trump didn't get 43% of the vote. That should scare you," Haley told voters in Columbia, South Carolina, on Thursday.
She currently trails Trump by about 31 points in the polling in South Carolina, according to 538. While her support has recently increased, so has Trump's.
Trump has targeted her for not leaving the race after her initial defeats in the first two states to vote in the race.
"Who the hell was the imposter that went up on the stage before and like claimed a victory? She did very poorly," Trump said on primary night in New Hampshire.
"She's doing like a speech like she won," Trump said then. "She didn't win. She lost."