Haley’s first statewide victory, surprise loss for Biden round out top moments from Super Tuesday

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Former President Donald Trump and President Biden continued marching toward their respective parties’ presidential nominations largely unhindered this Super Tuesday as both swept nearly every contest on the largest primary night of 2024.

Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, hoped to find some light at the end of the tunnel after staking her candidacy on the 15 states casting ballots, while Biden’s top challengers looked for any glimmer of success after making their case against the president’s age and ability to take on Trump in a general election rematch.

From Haley securing her first statewide victory to Biden suffering a shocking defeat to an obscure businessman, here are the top moments from what many thought would be an uneventful Super Tuesday:

SUPER TUESDAY BOOSTING TRUMP CLOSER TO CLINCHING GOP NOMINATION AS HALEY MAKES POSSIBLE LAST STAND

Presidential candidates

President Joe Biden, former President Donald Trump, and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. (Getty Images)

1. Haley wins first statewide contest in Northeast nail-biter

After winning her first contest in the race for the Republican nomination in the Washington, D.C. primary over the weekend, Haley secured her first statewide victory by narrowly edging Trump in Vermont.

The Fox News Decision Desk called the race after both candidates alternated taking the lead as the votes were counted over a period of a few hours following polls closing.

Haley was widely expected to do well in Vermont, one of the few states that held an open primary on Tuesday night where both Republicans and Democrats could vote.

Leading up to the primary, Haley held an event in the state featuring Vermont Republican Gov. Phil Scott, a vocal critic of Trump, who had previously endorsed her White House bid.

Vermont will award 17 delegates in the primary. If Haley hits 50%, she will be awarded all the state’s delegates. If not, the delegates will be divided up between her and Trump.

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Haley with supporters

Republican presidential candidate, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley poses for pictures with her supporters following a campaign rally on March 4, 2024 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Emil Lippe/Getty Images)

Vermont was a staunch red state up until the election of Democrat President Bill Clinton in 1992. Former President George H.W. Bush defeated former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis in the state four years prior. Democrats have easily won the state every election since.

2. Biden suffers first 2024 loss to little known challenger

Biden lost his first contest in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination to a largely unknown candidate in the U.S. territory of American Samoa, while his better-known challengers, author Marianne Williamson and Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips, failed to gain much traction with voters.

The Fox News Decision Desk projected that Jason Palmer, a self-described entrepreneur and investor, would win American Samoa’s caucuses, taking four delegates to Biden’s two.

On his campaign website, Palmer describes himself as a 52-year-old resident of Baltimore, Maryland, with leadership and executive experience working for companies like Microsoft and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, among others.

According to Palmer, he also has 25 years of small business experience in addition to his executive-level experience.

A Mar. 1 press release from Palmer’s campaign says the businessman will appear on the ballot in 16 states and territories, and touts him as being the youngest Democrat candidate for president.

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James Palmer

Democrat presidential candidate and businessman James Palmer. (Palmer for President)

Palmer reacted to his victory in American Samoa in a post on X, saying, “Honored to announce my victory in the American Samoa presidential primary. Thank you to the incredible community for your support. This win is a testament to the power of our voices. Together, we can rebuild the American Dream and shape a brighter future for all.”

The Biden campaign downplayed the loss by pointing to what it said was the likelihood that less than 500 total votes were cast in the contest.

As a territory, American Samoa does not get a vote in the general presidential election, and is only permitted to send delegates to the convention during the primary season. 

3. Haley remains vague on her campaign’s future

Haley did not make any public address on Tuesday after most of the races had been called for Trump except for her lone victory in Vermont’s primary. It’s unclear if she intends to remain in the race, but a statement released by her campaign after most of the races had been called claimed a “large block” of Republican voters still had “deep concerns” about Trump.

“We’re honored to have received the support of millions of Americans across the country today, including in Vermont where Nikki became the first Republican woman to win two presidential primary contests,” campaign spokesperson Olivia Perez-Cubas said. 

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Haley speech

Republican presidential candidate former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley waves to the crowd at the conclusion of a campaign rally at the Sawyer Park Icehouse bar on March 04, 2024 in Spring, Texas. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

“Unity is not achieved by simply claiming ‘we’re united.’ Today, in state after state, there remains a large block of Republican primary voters who are expressing deep concerns about Donald Trump. That is not the unity our party needs for success. Addressing those voters’ concerns will make the Republican Party and America better,” she added.

After losses in Iowa and New Hampshire earlier in the year, Haley invested heavily in her home state of South Carolina, only to lose to Trump by a massive 20-point margin.

She then vowed to stay in the race and appeared to be staking her campaign on the results of Super Tuesday.

4. Concern grows over Trump’s ability to win over Haley supporters

Although Haley came out on top in just one contest on Tuesday, recent polls suggest large portions of voters supporting her say they were motivated by their opposition to Trump, and that they might not shift their support to him as the Republican nominee in November.

That doesn’t mean those would automatically show up to support Biden, but, as Fox News contributor and Republican strategist Karl Rove said amid Tuesday’s results being tallied, “Team Trump ought to be concerned about unifying the Republican Party.”

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Trump supporters Mar-a-Lago

Former US President Donald Trump, center, greets attendees during a Super Tuesday election night watch party at the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, US, on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. (Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Rove, who made the comments while appearing on Fox News’ Super Tuesday coverage, pointed to Haley winning a significant share of the vote in Vermont, Virginia, Massachusetts, Maine, and North Carolina.

“There’s still some work to be done to unify the Republican Party, and that’s going to depend a lot on [Trump’s] tone tonight, and whether or not he stops doing things like calling [Haley] ‘birdbrain,’ and threatening that if you give money to her campaign you’re going to be permanently banned,” he said.

Trump spoke for around 20 minutes not long after Rove’s comments, but didn’t once mention Haley. He has consistently condemned Republicans not considered part of the “MAGA” wing of the party.

Fox News’ Andrew Mark Miller contributed to this report.

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