Though Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was once viewed as the only Republican candidate capable of giving former President Donald Trump a run for his money in the primary stakes, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has emerged as a serious contender for second place in the race for the GOP nod, as Fox News reports.
While it is certainly true that Trump is still far and away the frontrunner for his party's nomination, Haley has been surging, with some attributing the fact to strong showings in two recent debates.
Haley's growing popularity is a phenomenon observed in early primary states, but also on the national stage, something the candidate herself seems to acknowledge.
Speaking to Fox News Digital after a New Hampshire town hall, Haley confidently declared, “We can feel the momentum on the ground.”
While it is true that Haley's national support witnessed a doubling in a single month, jumping from 5% up to 10%, she still trails DeSantis, who pulled 13% in the same recent Fox News poll, and Trump, who stood firm with a commanding 59%.
Even so, in key early primary states such as New Hampshire and South Carolina, Haley has eclipsed DeSantis, to the surprise of many.
Reacting to those developments, Haley mused, “We can feel it in Iowa. We can feel it in New Hampshire. We can feel it in South Carolina.”
Donor interest intensifies
As Reuters recently reported, interest in Haley extends beyond standard voter surveys, reaching all the way to the Republican donor class, with the candidate pulling in over $11 million between July and September of this year.
Those results stand in stark contrast to the financial situation reported by the DeSantis campaign, which attracted $15 million in the third quarter, but only has $5 million which may be spent in the primary fight, a figure which pales in comparison to the $9.1 Haley has available for that battle.
Haley recently participated in a meeting with high-dollar Republican donors alongside Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and former House Speaker Paul Ryan, and according to her campaign, the experience was a positive one.
“We do have donor interest wanting to help us,” a representative from the Haley camp explained, and Fox News further noted that the candidate is receiving an additional $6.6 million in advertising assistance from the Stand for America super PAC.
The candidate, for her part, is taking pains not to get over her skis, however, saying, “We're keeping our head down. We're very focused. We want to earn every Iowan's vote. We want to earn every Granite Stater's vote. And we want to make sure we get to South Carolina and we earn their votes, and we're not going to stop until we do it.”