S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley ruled out being Donald Trump’s vice presidential running mate Wednesday as his path to the nomination cleared.
Haley said in a statement: "I have great respect for the will of the people, and as I have always said, I will support the Republican nominee for president.”
“To the members of the press who are asking, while I am flattered to be mentioned and proud of what that says about the great things going on in South Carolina, my plate is full and I am not interested in serving as vice president.”
Also on Wednesday, S.C. Republican Party leaders followed Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus’ call Tuesday for the party to unify behind Trump.
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“We have to respect the fact that Donald Trump has won dozens of states,” said S.C. GOP chairman Matt Moore. “Republican voters clearly want an outsider who will shake things up.”
Moore said Trump will be able to access the state party’s data and field operations immediately.
“Our job, at the end of the day, is to help candidates win elections.”
In a campaign season abuzz with the chance of Trump facing a contested convention, Sen. Ted Cruz’s exit came as a surprise to some S.C. Republicans, said Glenn McCall, a Republican National Committeeman from Rock Hill.
“But we have a presumptive nominee now, and we're all going to unify,” said McCall, adding that he hopes Trump will lead the effort to bring the party together.
The daughter of Indian immigrants and South Carolina’s first female and minority governor, Haley’s national profile has grown throughout her two terms. Considered a rising star in the GOP, Haley spoke at the Republican National Convention four years ago and delivered the GOP response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address this year.
Speculation about Haley’s prospects as a potential vice-presidential candidate intensified last year after she led an effort to remove the Confederate flag from the S.C. State House grounds. Calls for the flag’s removal came in response to a racially motivated shooting at a Charleston church.
Sometimes critical of Trump, Haley endorsed U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida in the S.C. Republican presidential primary. When Rubio dropped out of the race, Haley threw her support behind U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.
Cruz exited the race Tuesday. Ohio Gov. John Kasich suspended his campaign Wednesday.
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