South Carolina Democrats, working to turn out a show of force for President Biden in their party’s primary on Saturday, would like to remind their voters that Nikki Haley is not the moderate Republican that some may believe her to be.
In recent weeks, party leaders have made Ms. Haley a particular focus of their events across the state, calling her the “mother of the MAGA movement” and regaling attendees with lists of the ultraconservative policies she championed in her two terms as governor.
For any Democrat thinking about skipping Saturday’s primary and participating instead in the Republican contest three weeks later, the party’s message is very clear: Don’t.
“I had to sue her to get married,” Colleen Condon, who is gay and the South Carolina Democrats’ first nonbinary vice chair, told fellow party members at the party’s First in the Nation dinner on Saturday. “Do not let your friends go vote in that primary. Please.”
Ms. Haley has shown strength with Democrats and independents in the first two nominating contests in Iowa and New Hampshire. She narrowed the field to a one-on-one race against former President Donald J. Trump after other G.O.P. rivals dropped, having failed to win over a base still loyal to him.
Effectively the last candidate standing between Mr. Trump and the nomination, she faces long odds in her home state, where the Republican electorate is even friendlier to her opponent. To achieve her goal of doing better than her 43 percent mark in New Hampshire, she most likely must expand her coalition or cobble together a new one.