Super Tuesday: Donald Trump And Joe Biden Cruise To Primary Wins In Tennessee

Former President Donald Trump easily defeated former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley in the Tennessee Republican presidential primary on Tuesday, advancing his bid for the GOP candidacy.

As of 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Trump had 77.8% of the vote to Haley’s 19.1%, with 73% of precincts reporting. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who pulled out of the contest earlier this year, received 1.4%.

Meanwhile, incumbent President Joe Biden won the Democratic primary in the Volunteer State with no challengers on the slate. Biden received 92.7% of the votes cast as of 9 p.m.

The Associated Press called the contest immediately after the polls closed at 7 p.m. CST. Trump defeated Haley, despite Koch-funded Americans For Prosperity Action and partner groups spending more than $2.4 million into Tennessee in recent months and hiring hundreds of part-time door-to-door canvassers to support Haley and criticize Trump and Biden.

Multiple surveys found 40- to 60-point differences between Trump and Haley supporters in the months preceding Tuesday. According to a January Beacon Center poll, 63% of Republican respondents indicated they would vote for Trump even if he was convicted of a crime.

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In response to Trump’s triumph, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee endorsed him for the first time this election campaign.

“Republican voters in Tennessee and across the country have spoken their opinions. President Trump is the obvious candidate to deliver our conservative message to the American people, and I enthusiastically endorse him,” Lee said in a statement to The Tennessean.

Lee has previously avoided making any endorsements in the Republican primary, stating that he is instead focused on assisting Republicans in governor contests around the country as chair of the Republican Governors Association. Almost all of Tennessee’s congressional delegation has embraced Trump and is actively supporting his campaign.

“From governors’ seats to the White House, the future of opportunity, security, and freedom is on the ballot this November,” Lee said in a statement. “There is no doubt our country will again be stronger with President Trump in office, and it’s time to unite behind proven, conservative leaders who will revive our economy, secure the border, and restore safety in our communities.”

Tennessee was one of 16 states and a US territory that voted on Super Tuesday, the biggest day of the primary election season. The remaining party primaries will end before the party conventions, where electors will vote to formally select each party’s presidential candidate. The general presidential election occurs on Tuesday, November 5.

Trump has defeated Haley in eight of the nine GOP contests held before Super Tuesday. On Sunday, Haley defeated Trump in the Republican presidential primary in Washington, D.C., making her the first woman to do so.

Trump’s victory in Tennessee on Tuesday was his third in the Volunteer State; the former president won the Tennessee Republican primary in 2016 and 2020 before winning the state in the general election with more than 60% of the vote in both years.

Tennessee Republicans remain steadfastly loyal to Trump four years later, despite three criminal indictments and two impeachments.

Turnout in Tennessee’s 2024 presidential primary elections was down 20% from the 2020 primaries and over 30% from 2016, according to early voting data from the Tennessee Secretary of State’s office.

Even so, many people were eager to vote.

In Nashville, for example, KK Rainey was one of the few voters who braved the mid-morning rain at the Westmeade Elementary School polling station. She stated that she usually votes early, but she was out of town during the early voting period and had to “make sure to vote for Trump.”

“We have to be sure that our country is run correctly,” she told the crowd. “We need to do something about our borders, national security, and economy. The list goes on. But I believe he’s the only one who can do it.”

Another voter, John Starbuck, said he supported Nikki Haley because the former South Carolina governor was “the best choice.”

“It is my responsibility to go vote,” he explained, blinking in the rain. “I voted for Nikki Haley—I think she’s the best candidate.”

However, voters’ opinions were diverse. Shortly after Starbucks left, three women walked up the hill to the polling station together.

The women, who would not reveal their names for privacy reasons, said it was “their duty as American citizens to vote,” and they were “voting Democrat.”

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