The influential political network founded by the billionaire Koch brothers announced Tuesday that it is endorsing Nikki Haley for president, providing a major lift to her Republican primary campaign as she attempts to catch up with runaway frontrunner Donald Trump.
Americans for Prosperity Action said it would give its “full support” to the former South Carolina governor with just seven weeks to go until the Iowa caucuses. The endorsement means that the network will now throw its considerable resources into supporting Haley, believing her to be the candidate most capable of a GOP victory in 2024.
“Our internal polling confirms 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,” read a Tuesday memo from Emily Seidel, senior adviser to Americans for Prosperity Action.
“In sharp contrast to recent elections that were dominated by the negative baggage of Donald Trump and in which good candidates lost races that should have been won, Nikki Haley, at the top of the ticket, would boost candidates up and down the ballot, winning the key independent and moderate voters that Trump has no chance to win,” the memo adds.
It also argues that the U.S. is “being ripped apart by extremes on both sides” and that the country now needs a “tested leader with the governing judgment and policy experience to pull our nation back from the brink. Nikki Haley is that leader.”
The memo explains that the network’s parent group, Americans for Prosperity, has already been “targeting a unique universe of voters who vote reliably in general elections but not in the primaries or caucuses.” “AFP Action has now acquired that data and will encourage a significant number of these general election voters to vote in this primary,” the memo says. “So far, enthusiasm to participate is far beyond what we expected.”
The memo also offered “thanks and appreciation” to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is currently Haley’s closest competitor for second place in Iowa. The network said it understands some of DeSantis’ supporters “will be disappointed” with the decision to endorse Haley.
“However, as the 2024 primary season heats up, we are entering a time period that demands choices,” the memo says. “Donald Trump won the nomination in 2016 largely because of a divided primary field, and we must not allow that to happen again, particularly when the stakes are even higher in 2024.”
News of the endorsement going to Haley has apparently not gone down well with the DeSantis campaign.
“Congratulations to Donald Trump on securing the Koch endorsement,” DeSantis campaign spokesperson Andrew Romeo wrote on X. He went on to argue: “Every dollar spent on Nikki Haley's candidacy should be reported as an in-kind to the Trump campaign. No one has a stronger record of beating the establishment than Ron DeSantis, and this time will be no different.”