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Best Alternative to Trump: Nikki Haley Gains Momentum With Donor Interest and Key Endorsements

Best Alternative to Trump: Nikki Haley Gains Momentum With Donor Interest and Key Endorsements

  • She is leading President Biden by 10 points nationally among registered voters; and in second place in key voting states like New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Nikki Haley is having her moment. Increasingly being described as “the best alternative to Trump,” the former South Carolina governor and the former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. has been gaining momentum with strong debate performances as she is rising in polls and snagging powerful endorsements along the way. 

The Indian American is leading President Joe Biden by 10 points nationally among registered voters, and she’s in second place in key voting states like New Hampshire and South Carolina. There is also “an emerging media narrative about how she’s proving the DeSantis campaign theory wrong and showing that you can thrive as a Republican without surrendering to Trumpism,” according to New York magazine. 

Mississippi-based physician Dr. Sampat Shivangi, a Republican, told American Kahani that Haley’s “stunning performances” in the presidential debates “have suddenly overshadowed the rest of her opponents” including DeSantis, “who was thought as a natural choice to be Republican Party candidate.” He continued: “It will be a historic decade in the U.S political arena, that a sitting president is low in the polls, while the immediate past president Trump, who is ahead in the electoral polls, is suddenly facing a vigorous and tough challenge by Haley.” Shivangi also “admired” Haley’s “ties to India. “She made a point to visit India, and her homeland Punjab including paying respects at the famous Golden Temple in Amritsar to seek blessings.”

Significantly, Haley was endorsed by Americans for Prosperity Action, the political network founded by the billionaire industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch. The endorsement “bolsters,” her campaign, The New York Times noted, as it “enters the final seven weeks before the Iowa caucuses.” It also gives her “organizational muscle and financial heft as she battles Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida to be the top rival to former President Donald J. Trump,” reported The New York Times. The endorsement from the super PAC established by the Koch brothers will also cover her campaign “access to a direct-mail operation, field workers to knock on doors and people making phone calls to prospective voters in Iowa and beyond.”

In a memo announcing the endorsement, Emily Seidel, a senior adviser to Americans for Prosperity Action, said having Haley “at the top of the ticket would boost candidates up and down the ballot.” The memo adds that Haley would win “the key independent and moderate voters that Trump has no chance to win.”Noting that the country “is being ripped apart by extremes on both sides,” the memo notes that this moment requires a tested leader with the governing judgment and policy experience to pull our nation back from the brink. Nikki Haley is that leader.”

According to a CNBC report published Nov. 27, Home Depot co-founder and billionaire Ken Langone plans to meet with Haley next week in New York. He told the network that she’s the only person “who can give [Donald] Trump a run for his money.” Although Langone’s first choice was Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, his interest in supporting Haley has “been growing for several months,” the report said. And “if he were to switch teams, and help Haley raise money, he would join a growing list of Republican financiers who are aligning themselves with her.”

Haley is scheduled to be in New York on Dec. 4, Politico reported, where donors “getting ready to host” her include Greg Wendt, a former Tim Scott supporter who has donated to moderate, anti-Trump Republicans, and Doug Gross, a Republican operative who was the Iowa GOP nominee for governor in 2002. The two are close to Paul Singer, the hedge fund billionaire who has been critical of Trump,” the Politico report said. Gross told Politico “he plans to caucus for Haley after surveying the field for months in search of an alternative to Trump.”

The publication noted last week that so far, the Haley campaign has booked “$4.2 million worth of ads in Iowa and New Hampshire, while SFA Fund has reserved $3.8 million.” Her campaign has announced it plans to reserve a total of $10 million in television, radio and digital ads in the first two states. 

There has been a lot of conjecture on New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu’s endorsement as well. The popular anti-Trump Republican “has been one of the major public advocates for finding an alternative nominee,” the ABC report said, adding that he has “pledged to campaign aggressively in his home state for someone besides the former president.” He spoke with ABC News last week at  Haley’s crowded town hall in Hooksett, New Hampshire, saying that he’d narrowed down to three candidates for his endorsement — Haley, DeSantis, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and added that he “would declare his support in the next few weeks.”

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Veteran Iowa strategist David Kochel told ABC News that Haley’s emergence in the race as “the Trump alternative that has the most momentum” owes, in part, to the first three GOP debates.” Noting that “here’s lots of historical precedent for how these debates can change the trajectory of a race,” Kochek told the news network that “at his point, Haley has shown that she’s got the ability to perform under pressure.” 

Her increasing poll numbers are helping the growing donor base. According to a November CNN/University of New Hampshire poll, “Haley’s support grew by eight points to 20 percent trailed by Christie — a harsh Trump critic— in third and DeSantis a distant fourth,” CNN reported. 

Meanwhile, the Real Clear Politics polling average shows that in the key early state of New Hampshire, her standing has risen 4 points in the past month, placing her in second place. She is now polling in second place, ahead of DeSantis in New Hampshire, the first primary state, and in her home state of South Carolina. “Trump still leads the GOP field in the Granite State, but his 27-point advantage there is about half of what his average lead is nationwide,” the Los Angeles Times notes. A Fields of Freedom Survey showed her running neck and neck with DeSantis in Iowa.

Earlier this month, a Marquette Law School poll showed Haley with 55 percent to Biden’s 45 percent in “a hypothetical match-up,” The Hill reported. The poll found Trump leading Biden by 4 points (52 percent to 48 percent); and DeSantis leading by 2 points (51 percent to 49 percent). “Among likely voters, Haley leads Biden in the poll by 12 points,” The Hill report said. “Among registered voters, Haley would have support from 96 percent of Republicans, while Biden would only have 85 percent of Democrats,” the report said, adding that “Independents were almost evenly split between the two.” However, “15 percent of registered Democrats said they would support Haley over Biden,” but “more than 30 percent said they have not heard enough about her to have an opinion.”

(Top photo: Women for Nikki/Facebook)

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