Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to the United Nations, speaks during a meeting with US President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House on October 9, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Olivier Dulieri | AFP | Getty Images
Nikki Haley, former US ambassador to the UN under former President Donald Trumphas hired key employees and is campaigning for potential donors as she explores a presidential run against her former boss in 2024, according to people briefed on her plans.
Haley is assembling a national finance committee and communications team ahead of a potential campaign, these people said. Some of the new employees were directed to report to work at Haley’s nonprofit organization, Stand for America Inc. and her political action committee, Stand for America PAC, in Charleston, South Carolina, through Feb. 1, the people added. All of the people who spoke to CNBC asked not to be named because Haley’s plans are not public and could change.
Political consultant Mary Kate Johnson, meanwhile, has been reaching out to major political donors on Haley’s behalf in recent days to gauge their interest in joining the finance committee, two of the people added.
Johnson has worked closely with Haley in recent years, raising money through his MKJ Inc. consulting company. for both Haley’s nonprofit and her political action committee, tax filings, Federal Election Commission filings and local business reports show.
Haley has not officially announced her candidacy for the presidency, but recently strongly hinted at such a possibility tells Fox News she was “leaning” toward a potential run for the White House in 2024 and that Republicans need a candidate who can win a general election against the president Joe Biden. A spokesman for Haley did not respond to requests for comment.
U.S. President Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama attend a campaign event for Democratic U.S. Senator John Fetterman and Pennsylvania Democratic Governor Josh Shapiro in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., November 5, 2022.
Kevin Lamarck | Reuters
Some corporate leaders have suggested they are interested in supporting Haley if she runs for president.
Veteran hedge fund manager Paul Singer has donated to both Haley’s nonprofit and her PAC, according to Federal Election Commission filings and nonprofit records received from Politico. Singer donated $270,000 to the nonprofit in 2019 and $5,000 to the PAC two years later, records show. Conservative billionaire donor Miriam Adelson, wife of the late founder of Las Vegas Sands Corp. of Sheldon Adelson, is a key donor to Haley’s PAC, raising more than $17 million during the 2022 election cycle and entering the 2024 cycle with more than $2 million on hand. .
David A. Grogan | CNBC
The singer privately told friends during Trump’s final year in office that Haley could be a strong contender for the presidency, according to a person who heard him speak.
Representatives for Gorman and Singer did not respond to requests for comment.
Haley recently hired political consultant Nahama Soloveitchik to help lead her communications team should the former South Carolina governor jump into the race, one of the people said. On LinkedIn, Soloveitchik says she has experience working for retired Republican Sen. Pat Toomey’s campaign, as well as the Club for Growth, conservative outgroup.
Soloveitchik is also listed as a partner at political consulting firm ColdSpark, which received $405,000 during the 2022 election cycle from Haley’s PAC, according to nonpartisan OpenSecrets.
Haley also appointed Betsy Ankney, former political director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, to lead the PAC, according to Axios. Haley’s longtime adviser John Lerner is likely to hold leadership positions in Haley’s presidential campaign, two of the people said.
On the Twitter pages of Solovejczyk and Ankney, it is written that they are part of “Nikki Haley’s team”.
Johnson, Ankney, Lerner and Soloveitchik did not respond to requests for comment.
Haley has hinted publicly in two recent Fox News interviews that she might be open to running for president. “I think I can be that kind of leader,” Haley said in one, declining to definitively announce the White House’s offer. She noted her experience as Trump’s U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and previously as the governor of South Carolina.
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks at the largely virtual 2020 Republican National Convention live from Mellon Auditorium in Washington, U.S., on August 24, 2020.
Kevin Lemarck | Reuters
Trump, who lost to Biden in 2020, is the only candidate to enter the 2024 presidential race.
Haley’s apparent mobilization for a White House bid was hardly a surprise to those who followed the former governor during or after her time in the Trump administration. She had to guess questions about a possible presidential candidacy in 2020 sitting next to Trump in the Oval Office when he announced her withdrawal from the United Nations in 2018.
But her recent moves and not-so-subtle hints about running for office reflect more urgency this early in the presidential cycle than many of her potential rivals.
A host of other Republicans — most notably Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, but also former Vice Pres. Mike Penceex-governor of the state of New Jersey. Chris Christiea Texas senator Ted Cruz and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — are widely believed to be putting together their own companies for 2024.
Former Vice President Mike Pence addresses a crowd of supporters at the University Club of Chicago on June 20, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois.
Jim Wondruska | Getty Images
But no one has been as obvious as Hayley until now. If she is the next to announce her candidacy for president, she will become only the second candidate to officially enter the 2024 race — after Trump.
For a while, at least, it would put Haley in direct contact with Trump, an awkward spot many Republicans are trying to avoid.
While his standing in the Republican Party may be down following his loss to Biden, the January 6, 2021 riot at the Capitol and the underperformance of many of his chosen candidates in the November midterm elections, a number of polls show Trump remains the dominant force in the Republican Party.
Haley, like other Republicans who initially abandoned Trump after his claims of relegation prompted hundreds of his supporters to flock to the Capitol, later returned to the position of support. She even said in 2021 that she will not run for president in 2024 when Trump was on the ballot.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump announces that he will run for president again in the 2024 U.S. presidential election during an event at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida on November 15, 2022.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
Asked on Friday about the return path is possible on that position, Haley said “a lot has changed,” pointing to the Biden administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan and other issues such as inflation and “drugs infecting all of our states.”
The 51-year-old politician also spoke in favor of bringing in a younger generation of leaders: “When you look at the future of America, I think it’s time for a new generational change. I don’t think you have to be 80 years old to be a leader in D.C.”
Still, some recent polls show Trump far ahead of his potential rivals — including Haley.
A Morning Consult poll published last weekfor example, shows that 48% of Republican primary voters support Trump, while only 2% of respondents said they would choose Haley.
Another poll released on Friday Harvard CAPS-Harris Survey once again showed that Trump won the support of 48% of Republican voters in the hypothetical primaries. That poll put Haley at just 3%, putting her behind Pence and tied with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
It looks like the snap election hasn’t fazed Haley. She posted both Fox clips of her discussing running for president on her Twitter page, with one tweet saying, “It’s time for a new generation. It’s time for new leadership. And it’s time to take back our country. America is worth fighting for…and we’re just getting started.”
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