Some Nikki Haley voters are hanging on to her candidacy and, like her, refuse to endorse Trump

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — When Nikki Haley suspended her presidential campaign, she refused to endorse Donald Trump as the last remaining major candidate for the 2024 Republican nomination — and apparently so did some of her supporters in Pennsylvania.

Haley won almost 17% of Pennsylvania’s primary vote Tuesday, or 1 in 6 votes, to Trump’s 83%, despite not campaigning for president since she ended her bid in early March.

Pennsylvania’s 19 electoral votes up for grabs in the presidential election make it a premier battleground state. So should those Haley GOP voters refuse to support Trump in November, it could prove a damaging blow to his prospects for victory in the state and, possibly, reelection.

Haley’s base was never big enough to seriously challenge Trump before he clinched a third straight Republican presidential nomination.

But with nearly all ballots counted in Pennsylvania’s primary, the former U.N. ambassador and South Carolina governor tallied more than 156,000 votes, or about twice the 80,500-vote margin by which Democrat Joe Biden beat Trump in Pennsylvania in 2020. Pennsylvania’s election was even closer in 2016, when Trump beat Democrat Hillary Clinton by 44,000 votes.

A larger proportion of votes for Haley tended to come from urban and suburban areas where Trump suffered massive losses in his two previous presidential campaigns.

On the Democratic side, U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota won 7% against Biden, or nearly 70,000 votes as of Wednesday morning. Counties had reported nearly 60,000 for write-in candidates. A handful of counties had not yet reported write-in totals, and the breakdown of write-in votes for “uncommitted” was not immediately available.

Phillips and Haley qualified for Pennsylvania’s primary ballot before they dropped out of the presidential race, and Biden and Trump are on track to win their parties’ presidential nominations and face each other in November’s general election. Phillips has endorsed Biden.

All told, about 1 million ballots have been counted apiece in Tuesday’s GOP and Democratic presidential primaries in Pennsylvania, out of 3.5 million registered Republican voters and 3.9 million registered Democratic voters.

Pennsylvania holds closed primary elections, meaning that someone must have been registered as a Republican or a Democrat by April 8 to have voted in the primary for that party.

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AP Director of Public Opinion Research Emily Swanson contributed to this report. Follow Marc Levy at twitter.com/timelywriter.

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