A political group funded by billionaire conservative activist Charles Koch endorsed former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) for president this week. The move could propel the former United Nations ambassador in advance of the first Republican primaries while representing a potential lost opportunity for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).
Americans for Prosperity Action (AFP) announced their decision Tuesday, which also opens the potential for millions in funding for Haley’s efforts. The group wrote that its own polling confirmed “what our activists are hearing and seeing from voters in the early primary states: Nikki Haley is in the best position to defeat Donald Trump in the primaries.”
The group’s CEO Emily Seidel wrote that Haley offered “America the opportunity to turn the page on the current political era.”
AFP noted that it had not endorsed in a presidential election prior to this one, and criticized both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump as perpetuating “the country’s downward spiral in politics.”
The group’s internal polling showed that Haley is in second place in both the crucial early contests in Iowa and New Hampshire. The recent survey claimed that Trump leads in New Hampshire with 40%, while Haley trails in second with 25%. DeSantis ranked third at 9%.
In Iowa, which will hold its caucuses in January, Trump has a significant lead, with 44% of Republicans. In second was Haley with 17% while DeSantis pulled in 16%.
Haley lauded the move, stating that she was “honored to have the support of Americans for Prosperity Action, including its millions of grassroots members all across the country. AFP Action’s members know that there is too much at stake in this election to sit on the sidelines.”
.@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
The candidate said that the election was a “choice between freedom and socialism, individual liberty and big government, fiscal responsibility and spiraling debt. We have a country to save, and I’m grateful to have AFP Action by our side.”
Despite the decision, the DeSantis campaign said that the decision by the Koch-backed organization meant a victory for Trump’s campaign. The campaign called the move a decision by the “establishment.”