Dec 1, 2023

Nikki Haley Courts the Establishment

Heavyweight GOP donors are coalescing around Haley in a last-ditch effort to stop Trump.
Nikki Haley Courts the Establishment

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What’s happening: Anti-Trump forces in the GOP once saw Ron DeSantis as their best shot at preventing the former president from nabbing the nomination. But DeSantis’s star is fading, and Republican donors and advocacy groups are coalescing around an alternative: Nikki Haley.

  • Koch’s billions: The powerful Koch political network endorsed Haley in a memo on Tuesday. The move was particularly striking, given that the libertarian Koch usually supports anti-war candidates and causes — directly at odds with Haley’s hawkish foreign policy.
  • Dimon’s billions: JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon recently urged business leaders to “help Nikki Haley” win the nomination — “even if you’re a very liberal Democrat.”
  • Griffin’s billions: Citadel founder Ken Griffin, an early DeSantis donor, is now publicly talking about throwing his weight behind Haley instead. Griffin said he was close to making a decision on the matter earlier this month.

Next up: Haley seems well-situated to benefit from donors’ frustration with DeSantis as a competitive candidate in the race other than DeSantis and Trump.

  • Moderation: Her center-right, suburbanite-friendly political message plays well with the more moderate, pro-business wing of the GOP.
  • Electability: While she still trails DeSantis in many polls, some recent surveys show Haley beating Biden in a hypothetical general election matchup by a larger margin than any other Republican in the race.
  • Momentum: According to recent polls, Haley is making up ground on DeSantis in the GOP primary.

Reality check: Both Haley and DeSantis are still miles away from the former president, who currently leads the field by upwards of 40 points. Donors who hope to nominate someone other than Trump have their work cut out for them — and they’re rapidly running out of time.

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