2024 GOP primaryFeaturedGovernor Chris Sununuken langoneNew HampshireNikki Haley

Second Thoughts on Nikki Haley and Her Way Forward? – HotAir

It looks like Nikki Haley may be facing some strong headwinds, not from voters but from big donors and maybe a certain governor who has gone all-in with his endorsement.

The next step in the primary race is New Hampshire. It will be held next week on Tuesday, Jan. 23. Ron DeSantis has all but given up on New Hampshire and is moving his focus on to South Carolina and Nevada. Nikki Haley is not on the Nevada ballot and is trailing Trump in her home state of South Carolina. According to the Real Clear Politics aggregate, in South Carolina Trump is at 52.0, Haley is at 21.8, and DeSantis is at 11.0.

New Hampshire may well be a make or break primary for Nikki Haley. There are rumblings that big donors are getting nervous. Billionaire donor Ken Langone, a co-founder of Home Depot, is hesitant to move forward with his support of Haley. He said Thursday that he is waiting to see the results in New Hampshire’s primary before he gives her campaign “a major gift.” That’s enough to make a campaign nervous. Langone isn’t a never-Trump kind of donor. He will probably support Trump if he is the nominee.

“If she doesn’t get traction in New Hampshire, you don’t throw money down a rat hole,” Langone said, looking to Tuesday’s election.

Langone backed Haley in December, touting her as the best alternative to former President Donald Trump who is also most likely to defeat President Joe Biden in the general election. But after Trump comfortably emerged victorious from the Iowa caucuses, Langone predicted a Biden-Trump rematch in November, saying he would “probably” vote for the former president if he is the GOP nominee.

“My problem is we’re going to need a very competent manager, as well as a president-statesman,” Langone said. “I am supporting Nikki Haley because I think she comes [as] close to what you could hope for as anybody out there.”

Haley still has the support of Americans for Prosperity and the Koch network. That can carry her for a while.

A survey released on Tuesday by American Research Group shows Haley and Trump tied in New Hampshire at 40% each. Haley describes the primary contest as a two-person one. She has written off DeSantis and hopes everyone else does, too.

One problem for Haley is that a spotlight has been shined on her voters and independents and Democrats make up a portion of her support. That’s great in a general election but in a primary, a Republican candidate needs solid conservative and Republican voter support. Trump’s support is solidly conservative and his Republican base came out strong in Iowa. Trump has solid support with baby boomer Republican primary voters. An interesting side note – DeSantis had very strong support from the youngest demographic of Iowa voters.

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu endorsed Haley and declared she would win the primary in his state. Now, however, he is tempering his remarks. He’s gone from, “We going to win” to managing expectations.

“We always wanted to have a strong second. That’s the only expectation we ever laid out there,” the governor told ABC News correspondent Byron Pitts.

That statement doesn’t quite jibe with what the governor told an audience in Londonderry Jan. 3.

After saying that “having a strong second place finish was always our goal” in the Granite State, the governor added: “We’ve got that wrapped up, guys … we’re gonna win.”

“I am not predicting anything,” Sununu told Fox News Wednesday night of his expectations for Haley in the Jan. 23 contest. “I think she could win. We’ve already exceeded expectations in terms of a one-on-one race. A strong second is going to be great. It’s going to be hard.”

He went so far as to predict a landslide for Haley at one point. Hmm. What changed? Could it be that polls were pretty accurate in Iowa and Trump had a solid victory?

Sununu may have gotten out over his skis with his enthusiasm. Maybe something will change between now and next Tuesday and there will be overwhelming support for Nikki, as Sununu says. I’m skeptical. I think what we are waiting on now is to see how close to Trump she finishes in second place. I think the momentum, especially after Iowa, is with Trump. We’ll just have to wait and see what the big donors decide to do at that point.

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