Trump, Haley face off in Washington DC Republican primary

Trump, Haley face off in Washington DC Republican primary
Trump, Haley face off in Washington DC Republican primary

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Today’s results are unlikely to change the trajectory of a race that Trump appears to have stitched up, having won all the previous nominating contests. — Reuters pic

WASHINGTON, March 3 — Presidential contenders Donald Trump and Nikki Haley will face off in the Washington DC Republican primary today, a small-stakes contest that could be one of Haley’s best shots to score a win over the former president.

The United States’ capital city only sends 19 out of 2,429 delegates to the Republican National Convention in July, where the nominee is formally selected. Today’s results are unlikely to change the trajectory of a race that Trump appears to have stitched up, having won all the previous nominating contests.

Still, the District of Columbia, as DC is formally known, could be unusually fertile territory for Haley, said a high-ranking official at SFA Fund, the main super PAC supporting Haley’s bid.

During the last competitive Republican nominating contest in D.C. in 2016, Trump received less than 14 per cent of the vote and no delegates, even as he went on to win the nomination nationally.

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The local party’s single polling station in a downtown hotel has been open during daytime hours since Friday morning, and it will close for the last time today at 7pm (8am Malaysian time), after which votes will be counted.

The city is 100 per cent urban, and a relatively high proportion of residents hold a college degree. The core of Trump’s base skews rural, and he is particularly strong in areas with low educational attainment.

If Trump wins, it would illustrate how he maintains a core group of supporters within every demographic and geographic slice of the Republican Party.

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A lack of local opinion polls and the extremely limited number of Republicans in the city has created a degree of uncertainty about the primary’s outcome.

Haley campaigned in D.C. on Friday, hosting an event in the same hotel where the polling station is located. Trump’s campaign has been largely absent in the city, beyond sending out texts to local supporters asking them to vote.

The Democratic primary in Washington will be held in June.

On Tuesday, voters in 15 states and one US territory will caucus or go to the polls on the biggest day of nominating contests in the presidential primary. Known as Super Tuesday, 874 Republican delegates will be up for grabs. — Reuters

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