Nikki Haley held a rally Saturday night at the Sheraton Boston Needham Hotel/ Credit: Needham Observer

In a swing through New England ahead of Super Tuesday’s presidential primary, Republican candidate Nikki Haley brought her campaign to Massachusetts specifically Needham with a rally at the Sheraton Boston Needham Hotel Saturday night.

Massachusetts was one of 16 states holding primaries on March 5, and was a draw because it has an open primary, allowing voters who are unenrolled (often called “independent”), to cast ballots. Although more than 60% of Bay State voters are independents, they did not deliver for Haley. She lost the state to former president Donald Trump by a margin of 59.9% to 36.8% and has ended her campaign.

Haley won the town of Needham, however, receiving 2,050 votes, for 65.3%, while Trump received 971 votes, for 30.9%. 

The choice of Needham for a campaign stop was not because of any local connection. Republican Town Committee Chair Elizabeth Kaponya said the campaign did not coordinate with them. It was all about location. “Totally based on convenience,” said Jennifer Nassour, Massachusetts chair of Nikki Haley for President. “We wanted to make the location as accessible as possible to anyone who wanted to hear directly from Nikki.”

The event drew attendees from nearby communities, across the state and from as far as Northampton, Plymouth and East Bridgewater, as well as many from New Hampshire. 

In addition to several hundred enthusiastic Haley supporters, the crowd included those who wanted to experience a high-profile candidate event. “We’re just fascinated with the political process,” said Declan Jones, who came from Medford along with Andrew Hill. “We’re politically involved,” said Hill.

Needham High School student Matt Shusterman said he was there because he wanted to see the rally. “I’m really involved in politics and I was just interested,” he said. “I’m more of a Democrat.”

Along with delivering her campaign message of calling for a new direction for the nation, Haley appealed to the crowd to vote in Tuesday’s primary. “In a general election, we’re given a choice. In a primary election, we make our choice,” she said. And the voters did. 

On their way out of the rally the friends from Medford were positive. “I was going to vote for her going in, and I still am,” said Hill. Jones gave another reason for his Haley vote. “I don’t want Trump to be the nominee,” he said. Following Tuesday’s results in Massachusetts and elsewhere, that scenario is now a foregone conclusion.  

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