Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina Governor and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, has announced her run for the Republican Party nomination. Her announcement marks the first notable Republican to jump into the race against the already declared former President Donald Trump. In her speech she made reference to several of her key positions, stating, “It’s time for a new generation of leadership – to rediscover fiscal responsibility, secure our border, and strengthen our country, our pride and our purpose.”
Haley, 51, while a Trump ally during his presidency, has vacillated on her approach to him. In her campaign video she states she will not put up with “bullies”, some seeing this as an indirect jab at Trump whom she has butted heads with in the past, having resigned from his administration in 2018. After the events of January 6th she distanced herself further and in 2021 when asked if Trump were a friend, she made the comment that “friend is a loose term”. However, she noted at the time that she would not challenge Trump if he were to run for President again, something that Donald Trump has made note of publicly. Trump has said he encouraged Nikki Haley to run, but said she was “overly ambitious,” repeating that she has said publicly that she wouldn’t run “against my president, he was a great president.”
Nikki Haley is notable due to her positive record in South Carolina and for the potential for a rivalry with another potential presidential contender, Senator Tim Scott, who is also from South Carolina. There is reportedly already debate within Republican South Carolina political elite over who to endorse. In addition, she may likely be the only woman among Republican presidential contenders for 2024 at a time when the Republican Party is hoping to get back the suburban woman vote that it had in 2016, but has since been fairly unpopular with.
An Emerson College poll from late January shows Haley polling at just 3%, while Trump sits at 55% of the vote, DeSantis at 29%, and former Vice President Mike Pence at 6%, the latter two having not declared officially yet.