What the Haley protest votes mean for Trump

Politics Haley 030624 AP Chris Carlson 1

While much of the attention in Pennsylvania’s presidential primaries were focused on President Biden and a coalition urging Democratic primary voters to hold a protest vote over his administration’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war, former President Trump was met with a sizable protest vote himself.  


That protest vote came in the form of more than 157,000 ballots cast for Haley with 90 percent of the vote counted at time of publication. That amounts to more than 16 percent of the vote cast so far in the GOP primary while Trump saw close to 790,000 votes cast or about 83 percent of the vote.  


While Trump handily beat Haley in the Keystone State, the number of votes his former rival received is raising questions around whether those Haley voters will ultimately come around to Trump in November, stay home or even back Biden.  


Republican primaries in other states have underscored the GOP’s dissatisfaction with Trump: Haley notched 13 percent in Wisconsin, 13 percent in Georgia, 18 percent in Arizona and 27 percent in Michigan.


Of course, that doesn’t mean that Biden is safe, either. Biden is contending with votes across the country protesting his administration’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war. A coalition urged Democratic primary voters in Pennsylvania to write-in “uncommitted” on their ballot, though it won’t be clear for some time how many votes have actually been cast this way. 


But we’ve seen similar protest votes play out in other states such as Michigan and Minnesota – all sending a signal to change the White House’s direction of the conflict or risk losing voters in November.  


That wasn’t the only thing happening on Tuesday night in the Keystone State: Voters headed to the polls to cast votes in several contested primaries – Rep. Summer Lee (D-Pa.) prevailed in her Democratic primary while former local news anchor Janelle Stelson won the Democratic nomination to take on Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.). 


Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) fended off a primary challenge from the right and state Rep. Ryan Mackenzie won the GOP contest to take on Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.) in November. 


Oh! And there were primaries for U.S. Senate – but you’d be forgiven for briefly forgetting those given the Senate race for Sen. Bob Casey’s (D-Pa.) has been a snoozer so far. Casey and Republican Dave McCormick both won their respective primaries on Tuesday.


Hanna Trudo and Brandon Conradis have more on what you might have missed here.  


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