WASHINGTON, Feb 1 (Reuters) – Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley will launch her campaign for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination this month against one-time boss former President Donald Trump, two sources familiar with her plans said. Wednesday.
The move would make him the second declared Republican nominee and could set the stage for a more combative phase of the campaign, putting him in the sights of the embattled former US president.
Haley’s campaign sent an email to supporters calling for a Feb. 15 event in Charleston. Sources said he will announce his candidature there.
South Carolina is expected to host one of the first Republican nominating primaries in 2024 and will ultimately play a key role in choosing the nominee.
The daughter of two Indian immigrants who ran a successful clothing store in a rural part of the state, Haley has built a reputation in the Republican Party as a staunch conservative capable of reliably addressing issues of gender and race. Many of her colleagues.
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Having served as US ambassador to the United Nations from 2017 to 2018 under Trump, he has also established himself as a staunch defender of US interests abroad. At that time, the United States withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal signed under the Democratic Party. President Barack Obama is extremely unpopular among Republicans.
An ally of Haley said she decided to launch her campaign this early to shake up a race so far dominated by Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has not yet announced whether she will run.
A number of key Republican donors and elected officials in South Carolina are seeking alternatives to Trump amid concerns about his electability, according to defense officials, along with a dozen party officials and strategists in recent weeks.
Several prominent Republicans, including Haley and U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, opted to skip a Trump campaign appearance in Columbia on Saturday, which was intended to demonstrate his support in the state.
Trump told reporters Saturday that Haley had called him to say he was considering a run, and that she told him, “If you want to run, just ask,” according to multiple media reports.
Haley gained national attention in 2015 when, as governor, she signed legislation removing the Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol following the killing of nine black churchgoers by white supremacist Dylann Roof.
If she wins the nomination, Haley will be the first woman to win the Republican presidential nomination and the party’s first non-white nominee.
Among his main challenges is nailing down a consistent message. Even in a field where most candidates have changed their minds multiple times on key issues, Haley is a particularly chameleon.
He has repeatedly distanced himself from Trump, saying he has an important role in the Republican Party, and has since softened his rhetoric.
Although he criticized Republicans for casting unfounded doubt over the 2020 presidential election results, he campaigned on behalf of several candidates who supported Trump’s false election fraud claims during the 2022 midterms.
Although he sometimes adopts a conciliatory message on racial issues, he often chooses a less measured tone. In November, he told a campaign rally that Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock, a black Democrat born in Savannah, “should be deported.”
Playing into Haley’s hands could be geography: South Carolina is historically the third state to host a Republican nomination contest, and it often plays a large role in the race. Haley, who ran the state from 2011 to 2017, is popular there, according to polls.
Both Trump and DeSantis are active in the state.
Haley enters the race as an underdog — most national polls show her support in the single digits — and she’s used to running from behind and has a reputation in political circles for coming out on top in hard-to-win races.
A campaign spokeswoman declined to comment Wednesday.
Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt and Gram Slattery; Editing by Ross Colvin, Daniel Wallis and Andrew Heavens
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