Former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley‘s recent momentum continued this week when the political action wing of one of the nation’s largest conservative advocacy groups endorsed her candidacy for president.
In addition to its nationwide presence, AFP has been very active in the Palmetto State – where Haley served as a state representative from 2004-2010 and as governor from 2011-2017. She resigned her office after former U.S. president Donald Trump named her as his ambassador to the United Nations.
“Nikki Haley represents a new generation of conservative leaders who will solve the tough problems and lead our country forward,” the group wrote on X. “Her positive vision for America is what we desperately need. That’s why we’re proud to endorse Nikki Haley for President!”
Haley welcomed the group’s backing.
“I’m honored to have the support of AFP Action,” Haley responded. “Including its millions of grassroots members all across the country. This election is a choice between freedom and socialism, individual liberty and big government, fiscal responsibility and spiraling debt. We have a country to save.”
AFP-Action’s endorsement comes at a pivotal moment in the Republican presidential primary – which at the moment appears to be a foregone conclusion.
Trump is dominating the field, and barring some seismic development is expected to be the Republican nominee. Also, recent swing state polling has shown Trump leading U.S. president Joe Biden in virtually every key battleground Biden won in 2020.
At the time of her endorsement by AFP-Action, Haley was polling at 10 percent nationally according to FiveThirtyEight‘s updating average and 9.8 percent according to RealClearPolitics latest aggregate polling data.
Trump? He’s at 59.8 percent and 61.6 percent on those two indicators, respectively, while DeSantis is at 12.9 percent and 13.7 percent.
Haley is polling much stronger in key early-voting states, though. In Iowa – which holds its first-in-the-nation caucus on January 15, 2024 – she is running neck-and-neck with DeSantis for second place, drawing between 14-16 percent support, depending on the poll. DeSantis is at just over 17 percent in Iowa.
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In New Hampshire, which hosts the nation’s first primary election on January 23, 2024, Haley has surged into second place – backed by 18.9 percent of the GOP electorate according to FiveThirtyEight and 18.7 percent according to RealClearPolitics. That puts her well ahead of former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, a staunch #NeverTrumper who has also leapfrogged DeSantis in the Granite State. However, Haley is still trailing Trump by a wide margin.
In her home state of South Carolina, which holds its “First in the South” primary on February 24, 2024, Haley is also well ahead of DeSantis – drawing 19.5 percent of Republican primary voters according to FiveThirtyEight and 18.8 percent according to RealClearPolitics.
Once again, though, she trailsTrump by a wide margin in her home state.
Trump acolytes have taken note of Haley’s early-state surge, reviving 2010 revelations of extramarital affairs – including one with this author. Beginning this week, Trump supporter Laura Loomer made this affair the primary focus of her X page – which has nearly 700,000 followers.
Where are Loomer’s broadsides against Trump for his many marital extracurriculars? Good question …
Given my personal history with Haley, I’ve done my best not to unfairly criticize her since she announced her candidacy for the American presidency. In fact, I praised her earlier in the campaign (and more recently) for staking out some important ideological ground on the issue of entitlement spending. Also, where she has shown promise in the polls, I’ve reported on that – and will continue to do so.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven (soon to be eight) children.
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