In a significant political development, the political network largely funded by billionaire Charles Koch has officially endorsed former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, in the Republican primary. The move positions Haley as a strong contender against her Republican rivals, particularly Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, in the race to become the alternative to former President Donald Trump.
🚨Just in: Americans for Prosperity Action, an organization backed by billionaire Charles Koch has endorsed Nikki Haley for President in 2024. pic.twitter.com/JjcR4SxaIu
— The Calvin Coolidge Project (@TheCalvinCooli1) November 28, 2023
The announcement, made via a memo to grassroots activists by the network’s advocacy arm, AFP Action, signals a major shift in support within the Republican primary landscape. The endorsement is accompanied by a multimillion-dollar ad campaign set to roll out in early primary states and those participating in Super Tuesday.
AFP Action’s senior advisor, Emily Seidel, explained the rationale behind the endorsement, stating, “Nikki Haley represents a new generation of leadership and offers a bold, positive vision for our future. AFP Action is proud to be endorsing her, and we will be doing everything we can to help make her the next President of the United States.”
This move places Haley at the forefront of the Republican primary, gaining crucial support in key states. However, it also positions her as a direct competitor to Governor Ron DeSantis, who has been struggling to gain traction and ignite momentum in his campaign.
While acknowledging DeSantis as a good ally and a champion of many policy positions, a source briefed on the matter emphasized Haley’s alignment with the network’s values, dating back to her early alliance during the Tea Party movement and shared policy perspectives.
Donors to Americans for Prosperity, a component of the Koch network, pressed for a decision, prompting the endorsement. The decision came at a critical juncture as the Republican primary field narrowed following the withdrawal of former Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Tim Scott.
The endorsement is a strategic move for AFP Action, providing the endorsed candidate with lucrative financial backing and an early state operation that rivals the infrastructure of the Republican National Committee. The endorsement, often referred to as a “turnkey operation,” enables AFP to mobilize swiftly in support of their chosen candidate.
.@NikkiHaley represents a new generation of conservative leaders who will solve the tough problems and lead our country forward.
Her positive vision for America is what we desperately need.
— Americans for Prosperity Action (@AFPAction) November 28, 2023
Haley’s rise in the polls, particularly in key states like New Hampshire, has contributed to the network’s decision. Two recent polls in New Hampshire placed Haley in second place, ahead of DeSantis by a double-digit margin. Additionally, a Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom Iowa poll showed Haley and DeSantis tied for second place at 16 percent.
The endorsement reflects the Koch network’s strategic focus on electability, seeking a candidate who not only aligns with their values but also has the potential to win in a general election. Haley’s growing interest from donors opposed to Trump and her favorable stance on critical issues like abortion have contributed to her appeal within the network.
As the Republican primary intensifies, the endorsement positions Nikki Haley as a formidable candidate with the backing of a well-established political network. The decision underscores the significance of aligning with influential backers, as candidates like Haley and DeSantis navigate a competitive and evolving political landscape. Stay tuned for further developments in this dynamic primary race.