WASHINGTON, Feb 1 (Reuters) – Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley will launch her campaign for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination this month, taking on her former boss, former President Donald Trump, two sources familiar with the matter said. her plans. Wednesday.
The move would make her only the second declared Republican candidate and could set the stage for a more combative phase of the campaign, potentially putting her in the sights of the embattled former US president.
Haley’s campaign sent an email to supporters Wednesday inviting them to a Feb. 15 event in Charleston. She will declare her candidacy there, the sources said.
South Carolina is expected to host one of the first Republican primaries in 2024 and will play an important role in choosing the eventual nominee.
The daughter of two Indian immigrants who ran a successful clothing store in a rural part of the state, Haley has earned a reputation in the Republican Party as a solid conservative who has the ability to address issues of gender and race more confidently than many of her peers. .
See 2 more stories
She also presents herself as a staunch defender of American interests abroad, having served as the US ambassador to the United Nations under Trump from 2017 to 2018. During that time, the United States withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal, which was signed by Democratic Party President Barack Obama and was highly unpopular among Republicans.
A Haley aide said she chose to launch her campaign so early to try to gain voters’ attention and shake up a race that has so far been dominated by Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has not yet announced whether he will apply.
Many key Republican donors and elected officials in South Carolina are seeking alternatives to Trump amid concerns about his electability, according to interviews in recent weeks with more than a dozen party officials and strategists.
Several prominent Republicans, including Haley and U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, opted to skip Trump’s campaign appearance in Columbia on Saturday, which was intended to demonstrate his support in the state.
Trump told reporters Saturday that Haley called him to tell him she was considering running and that he told her “listen if you want to run,” according to multiple media reports.
Haley gained national attention in 2015 when, as governor, she signed a bill to remove the Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol after the murder of nine black churchgoers by white racist Dylann Roof.
If she were to win the nomination, Haley would be the first woman in Republican presidential nomination history, as well as the party’s first non-white nominee.
Among her main challenges will be nailing down a consistent message. Even in a field where most candidates have changed their minds on key issues multiple times, Haley is notably a chameleon.
She has distanced herself from Trump several times, only to tone down her rhetoric, saying he has an important role to play in the Republican Party.
While she criticized Republicans for unfoundedly casting doubt on the results of the 2020 presidential election, she campaigned on behalf of multiple candidates who supported Trump’s false claims of voter fraud during the 2022 midterm elections.
Although she sometimes adopts a conciliatory message on racial issues, she often chooses a less measured tone. In November, she told a campaign rally that Democratic Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock, a black man born in Savannah, should be “deported.”
In Haley’s hands, it may be geography: South Carolina is historically the third state to host the GOP nominating contest and often plays an outsized role in the race. Haley, who ran the state from 2011 to 2017, is popular there, polls show.
Both Trump and DeSantis have been active in the state.
Although Haley enters the race as an underdog — most national polls show her support in the single digits — she’s used to running from behind, having earned a reputation in political circles for coming out on top in hard-to-win races .
A campaign spokesman declined to comment Wednesday.
Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt and Gram Slattery; Editing by Ross Colvin, Daniel Wallis and Andrew Havens
Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.