Over 157,000 Pennsylvania Republicans Switch Sides in Primary, Favoring Haley Over Trump

Over 157,000 Pennsylvania Republicans Switch Sides in Primary, Favoring Haley Over Trump

On Thursday, President Joe Biden’s campaign is capitalizing on Republican voters in Pennsylvania who are fed up with former President Donald Trump. The ad targets supporters of former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.

More than 157,000 registered Republican voters rejected Trump and voted for Haley in Pennsylvania’s primary on Tuesday, a troubling omen in the critical battleground state.

The 30-second “If You Voted For Nikki Haley…” ad is part of the Biden campaign’s six-figure ad buy, as it becomes more aggressive in recruiting Haley supporters nearly two months after she pulled out of the 2024 race. “For months, Donald Trump told Nikki Haley voters that he didn’t want their support, and they heard him loud and clear—that’s why more than 157,000 of them voted against him in an uncontested primary,” Biden campaign communications director Michael Tyler said in a statement. “Our campaign has been clear from the beginning that we welcome anyone who knows that four more years of Trump would destroy our freedoms and devastate our country.”

In the advertisement, Trump is heard using the pejorative moniker “birdbrain” to refer to Haley, followed by other statements in which he lambastes his former US ambassador to the United Nations.

“I do not need the votes. “We have all the votes we need,” Trump is shown saying. When asked how he would re-engage Haley supporters, Trump responded, “I’m not sure we need too many.”

The more than 157,000 Haley voters signal a significant weakness for Trump in Pennsylvania, which Biden won by more than 80,000 votes in 2020. These votes might effectively determine which candidate wins the state in November. Much of Haley’s support came from the Philadelphia collar counties in southeast Pennsylvania. Since Trump’s election in 2016, these suburban voters have been inclined to support the Democratic Party.

“It’s nearly impossible to win a swing state without earning the support of Haley Republicans,” a former Haley staffer told the Washington Examiner. “These are Republican primary voters who have had enough of the drama and mayhem of the past and are actively voting against the likely Republican nominee. If Trump wants to win, he should do everything he can to gain Nikki’s support and voters.”

Biden has been to Pennsylvania more than any other of the seven battleground states that will decide the next president of the United States. Earlier this month, Biden conducted a three-day tour of the Keystone State, attempting to position himself as a protector of middle-class values in his hometown of Scranton. In contrast, Biden attempted to portray Trump as a billionaire’s crony.

The trip occurred when Trump was in the midst of a New York trial for a hush money payment conspiracy during the 2016 presidential race. “The choice in this race is clear, and Pennsylvanians of both parties are already choosing Joe Biden’s Scranton values over Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago values,” Tyler said in a statement. “Pennsylvania deserves better than a candidate who’s too preoccupied with his legal problems to talk to them face to face, and their votes prove that they know it.”

However, GOP experts have urged Haley supporters against supporting Biden over Trump.

“Haley voters shouldn’t vote for Joe Biden — his policy views are opposite of hers and what is traditional Republican orthodoxy,” a Republican strategist told the Washington Examiner. “If Trump doesn’t work hard to earn their vote, they should vote their conscience and write someone in.”

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