Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley has been rising in the polls in early voting states, especially after her strong performances in the three GOP sponsored presidential debates – Milwaukee, San Francisco and Florida. Though she still lags far behind Donald Trump, she argues she’s strongest nominee to take on President Joe Biden, US media reports said.
Her latest debate performance prompted more than $1 million in donations — and drew in Ray Hunt, a billionaire backer. She’s still banking on a breakthrough to catch up to the front-runner. Over the course of the two-hour face-off, Ms. Haley displayed her foreign policy credentials, parried attacks on her record and even transformed her shoes into a campaign weapon.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) says she’s what the US “needs to take on Trump and Biden in the 2024 presidential race”. “I don’t think you need to be 80 years old to go be a leader in D.C.,” she told Fox News in January. “It’s time for a new generation of leadership,” she said in the campaign video she released recently.
According to Policitco, “the pioneering former governor of South Carolina and Trump’s first United Nations ambassador, the 51-year-old daughter of Indian immigrants, was a Trump critic who became a Trump appointee who now officially is a Trump rival. Throughout her compelling, nearly two-decade-long political ascent, she has been nimble, or as her critics would say, uncommonly calculating. People who know her call her ambitious because she is.”
Haley was born to Indian Sikh parents who immigrated to the US from Canada. Her father is a biologist and her mother a lawyer turned boutique shop owner, that’s now a million dollar franchise. They came with $8 dollars in their pockets.
At 13, Haley began overseeing the store’s financial books, and after graduating from Clemson in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, she became the company’s Chief Financial Officer. Haley met her husband William Michael Haley in the college, and got married in 1996. They have two children.
Haley’s career in politics began in 2004 when she defeated a longstanding incumbent to win a seat in the South Carolina House. Haley then ran for Governor in 2009, making her the first person to be elected the Governor of South Carolina who wasn’t a white. It has been a gradula rise to her prominence to national stage for this talented Indian American presidential candidate.
However, months of campaigning, a series of strong debate performances, healthy campaign accounts and rising numbers in surveys of early voting states haven’t been enough to put Ms. Haley within striking distance of Mr. Trump, who remains the dominant front-runner. While Ms. Haley’s support has increased, particularly in Iowa, voters have yet to flock to her candidacy in overwhelming numbers. One recent poll of Iowa had Ms. Haley tied at 16 percent support with Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida — with Mr. Trump 27 points ahead.
There are some signs major donors are turning their attention to her. Harlan Crow, a wealthy real estate developer, hosted a fund-raiser for her in October with well-connected real estate and oil and gas donors in attendance. Former Gov. Bruce Rauner of Illinois, a top giver to Mr. DeSantis, transferred his allegiance to Ms. Haley after the first debate. Last week, one of former Vice President Mike Pence’s top donors — the Arkansas poultry magnate Ron Cameron — said he would back her, after Mr. Pence dropped out of the race.
Haley, who served in Trump’s Cabinet as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, has said frequently on the campaign trail that Trump is unlikely to beat President Joe Biden in a general election, citing his four criminal indictments and mounting legal troubles.
If Trump becomes the nominee, she said, Republicans could see more losses on down-ballot races. Haley argued she could lead the party to “win up and down the ticket, governor’s races, congressional seats, all of those seats.”
“It’s not just the presidential. We’re trying to win across the board. I can do that,” she added