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Off to Michigan, Haley is staying in the race despite Trump's easy primary win in South Carolina

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CHARLESTON, S.C. -

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley says it's not “the end of our story” despite Donald Trump's easy primary victory in South Carolina, her home state where the onetime governor had long suggested her competitiveness with the former president would show.

Defying calls from South Carolina Republicans to exit the race, Haley planned to travel Sunday to Michigan, which holds its primary on Tuesday.

With his win Saturday in the first-in-the South contest, Trump has now swept every primary or caucus on the GOP early-season calendar that awards delegates. His performances have left little maneuvering room for Haley, his former UN ambassador.

“I have never seen the Republican Party so unified as it is right now," Trump said in a victory night celebration in Columbia.

Haley insists she is sticking around even with the growing pressure to abandon her candidacy and let Trump focus entirely on Democratic President Joe Biden, in a 2020 rematch.

In addition to the rally in vote-rich Oakland County, Michigan, northwest of Detroit on Sunday evening, she scheduled a Monday event in Grand Rapids, a western Michigan Republican hub.

“I'm grateful that today is not the end of our story,” Haley told supporters Saturday. “We'll keep fighting for America and we won't rest until America wins.”

Asa Hutchinson, a Trump critic and former Arkansas governor who dropped out of the GOP presidential race after Iowa's leadoff caucuses in January, said he thought Haley should stay in. “The challenge is that she did everything she could in South Carolina,” he said on CNN's “State of the Union.”

Haley has pledged to keep going through at least the batch of primaries on March 5, known as Super Tuesday. “But it’s got to accelerate because you run into the delegate wall. And the delegate wall is March 5,” Hutchinson said. “So she’s got to prove herself.”

South Carolina's most prominent Republicans stood with Trump, including U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace, who endorsed him this past week.

To U.S. Rep. Russell Fry, “this has always been a primary in name only" and that Trump was never in jeopardy of losing to Haley. Fry said Trump would be the GOP nominee and the latest election results were “just further validation of that.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Trump ally, said Trump was on “a pathway” to being able to clinch the nomination by mid-March. “I would say the wind is strongly” at his back, Abbott told CNN.

Not all voters in South Carolina want Haley to end her campaign.

Irene Sulkowski of Daniel Island said she hoped Haley would soldier on, suggesting the former governor would be a more appealing general election candidate than Trump despite his popularity among the GOP base that powers the primary season.

“They’re not thinking, ‘Who do you want to represent us in the general election?’" said Sulkowski, an accountant. "And they need to have a longer-term view.”

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