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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Nikki Haley vows to stay in Republican primary race against Trump

By Dave Goldiner New York Daily News

Nikki Haley Tuesday insisted she won’t end her long shot Republican primary bid to knock off former President Donald Trump even as she faces daunting odds of winning her home state of South Carolina or anywhere else.

Just four days before Saturday’s primary in South Carolina, Haley summoned the media for a noon event in Greenville billed as an update on the “state of the presidential race.” She vowed to stay in the race.

“Some of you came to see if I’m dropping out of the race. Well, I’m not,” Haley told a crowd of supporters and journalists. “Far from it.”

“I refuse to quit,” she added. “I’m not going anywhere.”

It’s not clear why Haley used the unusual description of the speech, which mirrored that of candidates who plan to drop out and sparked speculation that she would pull the plug on her campaign.

She lashed out again at Trump, continuing to ramp up her once-tepid criticism of the overwhelming frontrunner in the GOP race.

“We know what a disaster he has been and what he will be for our party and our country,” she said of Trump. “I have no need to kiss the ring. I have no fear of Trump’s retribution.”

Despite the brave talk, Trump’s campaign issued a statement predicting “the end is near for Nikki Haley.”

“Nikki Haley’s campaign ends Saturday, February 24th, fittingly, in her home state, rejected by those who know her the best,” the Trump campaign said in a memo.

Haley is facing ugly polls that predict Trump will crush her by about a 2-1 margin in her home state, a devastating potential defeat that could effectively end her campaign and possibly severely damage her future political prospects.

But she has insisted in recent days that she will stay in the race at least until the Super Tuesday primaries 10 days after South Carolina. Independent-minded Michigan votes in between on Tuesday, Feb. 27.

If anything, Haley has stepped up her attacks on Trump in recent days and weeks.

She slammed the former president for failing to criticize Russian strongman Vladimir Putin over the unexplained death of imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Haley also hit back hard at Trump after he mocked her husband, who is serving in the military overseas.

She has even recently hedged on her campaign pledge to support Trump if he wins the nomination.

Haley held a successful campaign rally Monday night in Greer, S.C., that drew about 700 supporters and gave no hint that she might be considering a premature exit from the race.

“We’re ready to build a STRONG and PROUD America, and we can’t do it without you!” Haley said in a late night tweet.

She did not post anything on social media early Tuesday.

Haley is the last Republican candidate standing in the once-crowded GOP primary field, but most pundits give her little chance of ousting Trump, who remains the de facto leader of the party despite facing four criminal trials and 91 felonies.

Trump drove most of his rivals out before any votes were cast. He decimated Ron DeSantis in the Iowa caucus and scored a strong win over Haley in New Hampshire, although she framed her performance as good enough to keep her in the race.