GOP presidential hopeful Nikki Haley speaks during a campaign event on Monday, Nov. 27, 2023, in Bluffton, S.C. Haley is among a cluster of Republican candidates competing for second place in a GOP Republican primary thus far largely dominated by former President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)
The first votes will be cast in the 2024 Presidential primaries in less than seven weeks, with Mississippi’s election in March. Former President Trump is currently leading the GOP field nationally.
On Tuesday, Americans for Prosperity Action, a super PAC backed by billionaire Charles Koch and a network of wealthy conservative donors from across the country, announced it was endorsing former South Carolina Governor and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley for President.
Emily Seidel, Senior Advisor for AFP Action, issued the endorsement memo of Haley noting that nearly 75% of Republican Primary voters say they are open to supporting a candidate other than former President Donald Trump.
“It’s now time to help rally those voters behind a candidate who can win the primary and win the general election,” Seidel wrote, adding that candidate is Haley. “She has what it takes to lead a policy agenda to take on our nation’s biggest challenges and help ensure our country’s best days are ahead. With the grassroots and data capability we bring to bear in this race, no other organization is better equipped to help her do it.”
Seidel says Haley, at the top of the ticket, would boost candidates up and down the ballot, winning the key independent and moderate voters that the network believes Trump has no chance of winning, while avoiding the negative baggage the former President brings to the race for the White House.
According to FiveThirtyEight’s latest national polling average, Haley is running third in the Republican Primary field behind frontrunner former President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. As of Tuesday, Trump is sitting at 59.8% followed by DeSantis at 12.9% and Haley at 10%.
The first test for these GOP candidates will be on January 15, 2024, in the Iowa Caucuses. FiveThirtyEight’s polling averages from Iowa show Trump with 44.7%, DeSantis with 17.5%, and Haley with 15.3%.
However, AFP Action’s internal polling now shows Haley with 17% and DeSantis with 16% in Iowa. In addition, the group’s polling reveals that in both Iowa and New Hampshire, another early voting state, there is a clear trend of growing support for Haley and shrinking support for DeSantis amongst GOP primary and caucus-goers. Haley has moved from single digits in early August to now being in second place in both states, per AFP’s polling. In contrast, AFP shows DeSantis has been static or shrinking during the same period. AFP Action shows Trump with 40% to Haley at 25% and DeSantis at 9% in New Hampshire.
In Mississippi, polling has consistently shown Trump far ahead of the GOP field. The former President had strong showings in 2016 and 2020, winning 57.9 % and 57.6% of the vote, respectively. Both were the highest percentages for a GOP Presidential candidate in the Magnolia State since George W. Bush in 2004. Trump also led a crowded field in the 2016 Primary in Mississippi, pulling in 47% of the vote.
Voters in Mississippi will cast their ballot in the 2024 primary on March 12, 2024.
In their endorsement of Haley, AFP Action said if Trump were to be the nominee in 2024, “our polls consistently show he would lose to Joe Biden.”
“And our resources and strategy to establish a critical firewall in the House and Senate become even more important to avoid single-party rule in Washington D.C.,” Seidel noted. “Based on what we’ve seen over the last three years, a second term of the Biden administration with control of both chambers of Congress would thrust our country into an economic tailspin from which it would take decades to recover and threaten core constitutional protections, putting our system of constitutionally limited government at risk.”
AFP Action goes on to note that Trump won the nomination in 2016 largely because of a divided primary field, “and we must not allow that to happen again, particularly when the stakes are even higher in 2024.”
As for DeSantis, Seidel offered the group’s appreciation to the Florida Governor who they endorsed for re-election in 2022, saying he has been a “tremendous leader for the State of Florida.”
“We also understand that some of the Governor’s supporters, including some who support AFP, will be disappointed in our decision. However, as the 2024 primary season heats up, we are entering a time period that demands choices,” Seidel said.
With today’s announcement, Haley will now have the “full weight and scope of AFP Action’s unmatched grassroots army and resources to help her earn the support of Americans to become the next President,” Seidel explained in the endorsement memo.
You can read the full AFP Action endorsement memo for Haley here.