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Biden Appeals to Haley Voters as Anti-Trump Candidate Exits Race

(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden urged Nikki Haley’s supporters to get behind his reelection bid, signaling his team’s belief that attracting disaffected voters who oppose Donald Trump is key to winning in November.

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Biden’s campaign issued a statement minutes after Haley dropped out of the Republican presidential primary following a poor Super Tuesday showing. That followed a memo laying out the campaign’s theory of how the president can regain his footing and defeat Trump in the presidential election.

“Donald Trump made it clear he doesn’t want Nikki Haley’s supporters. I want to be clear: There is a place for them in my campaign,” Biden said.

While Biden has cruised to a nearly insurmountable lead in the Democratic primary, polls suggest he is persistently trailing in a rematch with Trump, who has largely swept the Republican nominating race. A Bloomberg News/Morning Consult survey of swing state voters conducted last month found the president behind in every battleground state that will likely decide the election.

Haley’s victory in Vermont’s primary Tuesday and her significant showing in other contests demonstrates that Trump remains toxic to a significant portion of the country, Biden’s campaign argued. Haley garnered more than 20% of the vote in GOP primaries she lost in Maine, Massachusetts, Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado and Minnesota.

Biden, a Democrat, said he is the candidate for Republican voters who still adhere to former President Ronald Reagan’s brand of conservatism, which advocated for a muscular US foreign policy. Trump’s third consecutive GOP presidential nomination has cemented the party’s shift toward isolationism and populism, which are anathema to many traditional conservative voters.

The president acknowledged “there is a lot we won’t agree on” but vowed to fight to preserve American democracy, the NATO alliance, the rule of law and “dignity and respect” in US politics, adding, “I hope and believe we can find common ground.”

Biden’s considerable fundraising advantage and surveys showing large numbers of voters are not yet paying attention to the election demonstrates there remains “a clear path to victory,” Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez and chair Jen O’Malley Dillon wrote in their memo.

“Donald Trump’s primary performances are a major warning sign for the GOP, and an opportunity for President Biden to expand his coalition,” they said, noting that Trump had underperformed with suburban voters in key swing states.

Trump on Tuesday night recognized the need to unite Republicans to help his campaign, notably opting against attacking Haley in his victory speech from Florida. Advisers also said his victories should allow him to more closely integrate campaign efforts with the Republican National Committee.

But the former president reverted to attacking his felled rival just 12 hours later.

Trump wrote in a post on his social media site that Haley got “TROUNCED” and that “much of her money came from Radical Left Democrats,” while inviting her supporters to “to join the greatest movement in the history of our Nation.”

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