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Falling Short: Nikki Haley Quickly Shifts Focus Onto New Hampshire Primary After Third Place Finish in Iowa

Falling Short: Nikki Haley Quickly Shifts Focus Onto New Hampshire Primary After Third Place Finish in Iowa

  • In her post-election remarks, she completely ignored any mention of Gov. Ron DeSantis and her Indian American rival Vivek Ramaswamy.

If she was disappointed with her third place finish in the Iowa caucus, she didn’t show it. The results have made the Republican primary “a two-person race,” Nikki Haley declared to her supporters last night after falling short of the expectations propelled by latest polls that placed her ahead of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. She garnered 19% of the vote, while DeSantis secured 21.2% and former president Trump was the runaway winner with 51%. 

Addressing her supporters in West Des Moines after the results, Haley emphasized that “a majority of Americans do not want to see a potential election rematch between Trump and President Joe Biden.” The two are “about 80 years old,” she said, adding that they both “put our country trillions of dollars deeper in debt, and our kids will never forgive them.” 

“Both lack a vision for our country’s future because both are consumed by the past — by investigations, by vendettas, by grievances. Americans deserve better,” Haley argued.

She said “Americans deserve a president who is focused on their needs, wants to rebuild the economy, close the border, stand up to the country’s enemies, will stop our self-loathing and division and fear and make America strong and proud.” She reiterated that her “campaign is the last best hope of stopping the Trump-Biden nightmare.” 

In a bid to stress that it is now a two-person race, Haley totally ignored DeSantis in her post-election remarks. Not surprisingly, she didn’t bother to mention her fellow Indian American contender and bete noire Vivek Ramaswamy who came in a distant fourth in the caucuses and promptly suspended his boisterous campaign.

According to the Des Moines Register, Haley “followed a slow and steady cadence of Iowa visits.” She held 85 public events in the state over the course of the campaign cycle, and ‘largely stuck to town halls where she would speak about spending, immigration, foreign policy and veteran homelessness before taking questions from Iowans.” She became popular in the state, particularly with Independents, urging her crowds to elect “a new generational leader.” Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom Iowa Poll results showed Haley at 6% in August before rising to 16% in October and December. She reached 20% in January — second place behind Trump — just days before the caucuses.

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Since the past few months, Haley has been gaining momentum with strong debate performances as she has been rising in polls and snagging powerful endorsements along the way. She was increasingly being described as “the best alternative to Trump.”

In November, she 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.”

A recent University of New Hampshire/CNN poll showed Haley at 32 percent among likely GOP primary voters, while the former president is leading with 39 percent. However, the Suffolk University/Boston Globe/USA TODAY survey put Trump at 46 percent and Haley at 27 percent. Both polls indicate that she has surged into a clear second place in the Granite State with the backing of Gov. Chris Sununu.

(Top photo, Nikki Haley campaign/Facebook)

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