What’s Next for Nikki Haley?


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Losing is never easy.

That can be forgotten in the rush of a presidential campaign — the speeches, attacks, television advertisements, endorsements and the ups-and-downs of polls. But the candidates are, in the end, ambitious men and women who have invested their egos and reputations in an enterprise that can define their political lives.

Having to quit can be painful, an act of minor humiliation carried out on a public stage. Conversations about what comes next — whether to slog it out in a race or think about next adventures — are difficult. So it is that candidates who have spent months running for president often need a few days to realize their campaigns are over.

Nikki Haley, the former United Nations ambassador and former South Carolina governor, is facing her own decision this morning after losing to former President Donald J. Trump in the New Hampshire primary. This was the race that she wanted — a two-person face-off in a state where independents are a key bloc and Republicans are more moderate than in Iowa. It is hard to put a good spin on it.

But Ms. Haley is only 52 years old and there are still five months until Republicans gather in Milwaukee to nominate a presidential candidate. Here are a few things she might decide to do in the days ahead:

The next contested state on the Republican primary calendar is Ms. Haley’s back yard — “my sweet home state,” she said in Concord on Tuesday night, after New Hampshire was called for Mr. Trump.

Ms. Haley said the race was “far from over” as she pledged to stay in it on Tuesday. She has invested considerable time and advertising money in the state where she was born and won two terms as governor. But South Carolina has become Trump territory since she stepped down from that job to join his administration, and most polls show her heading for what would be a third decisive loss. (While she campaigns in South Carolina, Mr. Trump is likely to continue consolidating his party’s support. In early February, he’s expected to win the Nevada caucuses, a contest Ms. Haley is skipping.)

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What’s Next for Nikki Haley?

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