Koch brothers pull plug on Nikki Haley, but she holds rally today as if she's the frontrunner

Donald Trump lost an eye-popping 40% of the Republican vote to Nikki Haley in South Carolina on Saturday, but his flimsy performance wasn't quite low enough to keep the billionaire Koch brothers in Haley's pocketbook. In fact, on Sunday, the brothers announced that they were zipping it up after spending tens of millions of dollars on the South Carolina governor's campaign.

"Given the challenges in the primary states ahead, we don't believe any outside group can make a material difference to widen her path to victory,"said Emily Seidel, CEO of the Koch-backed organization Americans for Prosperity. But, she continued, the group "would now focus on House and Senate races," according to The New York Times, and "the conservative organization remained concerned about the political aftershocks of Mr. Trump winning the G.O.P. nomination."

But rather than collapse DeSantis-style, a determined — albeit delusional — Haley (who Trump confuses with Nancy Pelosi) instead boasted about $1 million her campaign raised in one day after her South Carolina setback. She has also promised to stay in the race, humiliated or not, until at least March 5th.

And today, the MAGA-lite candidate held an enthusiastic, packed rally in Grand Rapids a day before the Michigan primaries. "We've got a country to save!" she comically said, as if she herself were the frontrunner.

From The New York Times:

"If Donald Trump is at the top of the Republican ticket, the risk of one-party rule by a Democratic Party captured by the progressive left is severe," she wrote.

Ms. Seidel described how the last three elections had shown "what we can expect from voters who consistently rejected Donald Trump and his impact on the Republican party brand."

The endorsement from the group, which was announced in November, was crucial for Ms. Haley. It came as she was trying to gain traction against Mr. Trump, particularly given how small her team was at the time. It gave her access to a direct-mail operation, field workers to knock on doors and people to make phone calls to prospective voters in Iowa and other states.

Still, despite those efforts, Ms. Haley came in a distant third to Mr. Trump in Iowa. One person close to the network said that it had focused on grass-roots voter outreach in the final stretch leading up to South Carolina, as opposed to advertising.

After word of the group's pullback became public, Mr. Trump posted on his social media website that Charles Koch "and his group got played for suckers right from the beginning!"