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Trump wins the Michigan Republican primary

Trump has defeated Nikki Haley in another Republican presidential primary contest, according to NBC News projections.
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Former President Donald Trump has won Michigan’s Republican primary, NBC News projects.

The victory continues Trump’s dominant run through this year’s presidential primaries and caucuses, despite the lingering candidacy of former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley. 

Michigan is a two-part nominating contest for the GOP. Only 16 of the state’s 55 delegates to the Republican National Convention will be awarded based on Tuesday’s primary results. The remaining delegates will be decided at a state party convention Saturday.

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Trump called in to a Michigan GOP watch party in Grand Rapids shortly after the race was called to thank supporters.

“We have a very simple task — we have to win on Nov. 5,” Trump, referring to the general election, told the crowd by phone. “We win Michigan, we win the whole thing.”

Trump’s influence in the state remains deep. He was heavily involved in the 2022 midterms, endorsing a slate of statewide candidates who won their primaries with his help — but all of whom all lost in the general election.

At a Feb. 17 rally in Waterford Township, his only pre-primary rally in Michigan, Trump largely looked past the contest and focused on a November rematch with President Joe Biden. 

“We want to send a signal, but we want to win Nov. 5,” he added. “Nov. 5, we’re going to get this guy out. We’re going to change our country. We’re going to bring our country back.”

Haley campaigned Sunday in the Detroit suburb of Troy and Monday in Grand Rapids. Winless in every primary and caucus ahead of Tuesday — including in her home state of South Carolina — she has been focusing more on what she sees as Trump’s lack of electability this fall. She has emphasized how she received nearly 40% of the vote in South Carolina and suggested her vote share indicated problems for Trump.

Hours before the polls closed in Michigan, Haley spokesperson Olivia Perez-Cubas sought to drastically lower expectations, suggesting that even a 10% share would signal an “appetite” for a Trump alternative in the GOP. When early results showed Haley losing Michigan by an even wider margin than past contests, Perez-Cubas reinforced that assertion.

“Joe Biden is losing about 20% of the Democratic vote today, and many say it’s a sign of his weakness in November,” Perez-Cubas said. “Donald Trump is losing about 35% of the vote. That’s a flashing warning sign for Trump in November.”

The primary and Saturday’s convention come amid major turmoil for the Michigan Republican Party. A judge on Tuesday intervened in a long-building dispute between former Rep. Pete Hoekstra, whom the Republican National Committee has recognized as the new state party chair, and Kristina Karamo, who was ousted from that role by activists unhappy with her management.

Karamo had refused to give up the post. She also had vowed to go ahead with plans for a rival GOP convention Saturday in Detroit — Hoekstra is holding his convention in Grand Rapids — but Tuesday's court order prohibits her from conducting party business.

Trump had endorsed Hoekstra, his former ambassador to the Netherlands. The former president congratulated Hoekstra on his court victory during the call to the watch party Tuesday night.

“When we finally get access to all of the information from the previous leadership of the Republican Party, we’re not going to find a campaign plan,” Hoekstra said last week in an interview. “And I’m expecting we’re not going to find any financial resources. And so, yeah ... we’ve got eight months to do what a political party normally does in 18 to 20 months.”