Tue. Jun 25th, 2024

Charles Koch-funded anti-Trump network supports Nikki Haley in Ron DeSantis’ defeat Election 2024

By HENRY Nov 28, 2023

Washington, DC:Β  The political network, which is mostly funded by billionaire Charles Koch, is supporting Nikki Haley, a former US ambassador to the UN, in the Republican primary, giving her fresh momentum against her competitors in the race to challenge Donald Trump.

The statement was made to grassroots activists on Tuesday via the network’s advocacy arm. It is supported by a multimillion-dollar ad campaign that kicks off this week in states with early primary elections and many that have Super Tuesday elections.

Nikki Haley
image by Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images file

“We made it plain when we declared that we would be holding our first-ever Republican presidential primary that we would be seeking a winner who could end our political dysfunction. Nikki Haley is undoubtedly the candidate, according to Emily Seidel, senior adviser to AFP Action, who made this declaration. “Nikki Haley offers a daring, optimistic vision for our future and embodies a new generation of leadership.” AFP Action is honored to support her, and we’ll do all within our power to ensure that she becomes the country’s next president.

Nikki Haley was also an early supporter

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis seems to be losing ground to Haley as he searches for a spark to ignite his flagging campaign, while Haley hopes to benefit from support in critical primary states.

For AFP, this was not an easy choice. A person informed on the situation said, “Governor DeSantis has been a good ally and a champion of many policy positions of AFP and the state of Florida.” “However, Nikki Haley was also an early supporter, having ties to the Tea Party movement from her time as a South Carolina governor, and she shares the same views.”

According to two people familiar with the decision, donors to Americans for Prosperity, a political branch of the wider Koch network, had put pressure on the well-funded organization to decide quickly and deploy its funds to support a chosen candidate. Donor pressure emerged as the Republican primary field narrowed with the withdrawals of Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina and former vice president Mike Pence. read more

Following the news, Haley released a statement saying, “I’m honored to have the support of Americans for Prosperity Action, including its millions of grassroots members all across the country.” Members of AFP Action are aware that there is too much riding on this election to be neutral. One must choose between socialism and freedom, small government and individual liberty, and budgetary restraint and mounting debt. We need to rescue our nation, and I’m happy that AFP Action is on our side.

People who were informed on the situation for weeks warned that the group may still wind up supporting DeSantis instead, while others noted that the choice wasn’t final until it was made public.Nikki Haley

A group official told NBC News that the decision was still being made the day before it was made.

The network has previously entered the Republican primaries by running commercials against President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump. A rich financial support and an early state operation comparable to the Republican National Committee’s infrastructure accompany an endorsement. Republicans refer to it as a turnkey operation since AFP can start working as soon as they make a decision.

Republicans debate Haley vs. Trump as the better spokesperson on abortion. Β©NBC NEWS

AdImpact monitoring indicates that the organization has spent around $4 million on advertisements so far this cycle (digital, satellite, and radio). Based on Federal Election Commission data, Americans for Prosperity Action, a super PAC, raised almost $70 million in the first half of the year.Nikki Haley

After an AFP supporter brought up the expected Haley endorsement at a political donor event two weeks before, the DeSantis team learned about it. According to two people familiar with the situation, a DeSantis contributor sent it to the governor’s staff, who were “apoplectic” and launched a full-court push with AFP to give their candidate more time to win back support.

A source with knowledge of the call said that DeSantis spoke directly with an AFP official. According to this source, AFP just informed DeSantis that they are still in the midst of coming to a conclusion.

When questioned prior to the endorsement being public, a DeSantis campaign assistant denied this had occurred.

“All of the reporting is untrue. Although there is a lot of “wish-casting,” Ron DeSantis is the only contender who has the potential to defeat both Joe Biden in the general election and Donald Trump in the primary, according to Communications Director Andrew Romeo. Nikki Haley is limited to trying to hasten Trump’s actions. That is not going to happen.

Romeo blasted the organization as part of the “pro-open borders, pro-jail break bill establishment” in a remark he had made on X, then known as Twitter, and said that Trump would benefit most from the support. He shared this statement with NBC News after the announcement.

In the campaign, DeSantis is in a crucial stretch that might become more challenging if the Koch cavalry shows up in force in support of his main opponent.

With years of experience campaigning doors-to-door and a grassroots network ingrained in the primary states, the endorsement provides a significant operational edge.

“Nikki can turn to AFP if she doesn’t have a strong operation in, say, Florida, which she doesn’t,” the person said. “AFP will be her canvassing platform, competitive with the campaigns of DeSantis and Trump.”Nikki Haley

The idea is that if Trump is found guilty in any of the lawsuits against him and is therefore unable to serve, the supported candidate might win one or two states with little assistance. Regarding the charges against him in Georgia, Florida, New York, and Washington, D.C., Trump has entered a not guilty plea.

“It’s hard for me to imagine a presidential race where money didn’t matter as much,” a Republican source who isn’t associated with either campaign said. “For this reason, the Koch campaign has consistently aimed to elevate a different candidate in the primary.”Nikki Haley

For many months, DeSantis was seen as the most likely candidate to unseat Trump. As a well-liked governor of a swing state with the financial resources of a super PAC, he had the resources and ability to easily defeat his rivals.

As the governor lost support and found it difficult to recover ground in the polls, that idea started to fade in the autumn.

Following the first two debate performances and weak polling for DeSantis, who had been their preferred pick for some time, AFP started “reserving the right to look at someone else” after hinting the organization may support DeSantis, according to people familiar with the situation.

According to these persons, talks with him slowed a little, and in November, the gang switched their attention to Haley.Nikki Haley

The surveys are a moment in time. Less than a year has passed. However, comparing Trump vs Biden, DeSantis versus Biden, and Nikki Haley versus Biden, Nikki Haley wins hands down, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. “She has the greatest chance of winning both conservative and middle-class America.”Nikki Haley

According to two recent surveys conducted in New Hampshire, Haley has risen to second place, much ahead of DeSantis. Haley and DeSantis are tied for second place with 16 percent of the vote in a survey conducted at the end of October by the Des Moines Register, NBC News, and Mediacom Iowa.

Those informed on the news point to DeSantis’s shift toward economic populism during the campaign as an additional factor contributing to the drift. DeSantis received AFP endorsements during his victorious attempt for reelection as governor in 2022.Nikki Haley

One of these individuals said, “It’s not just a horse race,” and that AFP’s choice was influenced by a number of variables.

It was going to take some time for Haley to get past the Koch team’s resistance to her tough foreign policy, this insider noted. In an effort to promote more moderation in US foreign policy, organizations backed by Koch have partnered with partners on the left in recent years.

Donors who oppose Trump are becoming more interested in Haley as she gains traction. Simultaneously, her position on abortion is gaining popularity among voters, upending ballot initiatives in even deeply red areas and leaving the GOP reeling.Nikki Haley

On Monday, Haley declared that she was eligible to run for office in more than 20 states.

According to the organization’s leadership, Americans for Prosperity is electability-focused. CEO Emily Seidel said in a February letter that AFP Action is looking for a candidate “who can win,” in addition to someone who can lead.

With just a small portion of Trump’s cash on hand going into the fourth quarter, DeSantis and Haley have challenges in trying to win over voters in areas where the previous president has a commanding advantage.

Encouraging DeSantis is a super PAC beset by scandal and censured for a tactic that seems to work against rather than for him.Nikki Haley

According to a source, the organization was dropping off mailings every day to people’s homes in South Carolina throughout the summer.

The insider said, “Hell, we were receiving text messages from Never Back Down PAC almost every day, TV commercials, and mail.” “They never had the offense, but they were spending an absurd amount of money early in the state. If anything, he lost height.Nikki Haley

Haley has said that she anticipates doing well in Iowa and New Hampshire but that her native state of South Carolina, where she served as governor twice, will stand in her way of winning the primary.Nikki Haley

Based on the average of recent surveys by RealClearPolitics, she is behind Trump by 18.8% of the GOP primary vote in South Carolina, while DeSantis is at 10.5%. In contrast, 49% of voters back Trump.

Rep. Russell Fry of South Carolina, a Trump supporter, said that genuine parity between the other contenders and the past president would be necessary for the former president to be in danger.

“Aside from Trump’s increased numbers, not much has changed in the past year,” Fry said.

Original News : NBC NEWS


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