Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley told reporters she will seek her party’s nomination for president in 2024 “if there’s a place for me,” fueling further speculation she will throw her hat in the ring as other presidential hopefuls begin accelerating their own campaigns.
Tailed by reporters at a Sioux Center fundraiser with Iowa Rep. Randy Feenstra and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds June 30, Haley offered some of her clearest comments on a future presidential bid to-date as other Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, weigh their own bids for president.
“What I’ve always said is, I love this country,” she told reporters, according to the Des Moines Register. “I had the pleasure of serving the state that raised me and defending the country I love so much. And if it looks like there’s a place for me next year, I’ve never lost a race. I’m not going to start now. I’ll put 1,000 percent in and I’ll finish it. If there’s not a place for me, I will fight for this country until my last breath.”
It’s not the first time Haley has hinted her presidential ambitions. Haley offered a nearly identical statement a week earlier in a late June appearance on Fox News’ “Faulkner Focus,” telling the program’s host she would likely reveal her decision on a potential bid early next year.
For her most recent comments it’s the backdrop of the comments, rather than the comments themselves, that matters most.
While the Democratic National Committee has contemplated shaking up its primary calendar to incorporate a more diverse electorate into the presidential selection process, Iowa — where Haley has maintained a visiting presence since 2019 — has remained a centerpiece of Republican plans to test the viability of the party’s nominees for president.
As talks stand now, the state is all but assured to maintain its status as the GOP’s first presidential primary state in 2024.
Haley’s Iowa interest hasn’t waned. In 2021 she attended numerous fundraisers and campaign events for various candidates throughout the Hawkeye State and last June headlined the Republican Party of Iowa’s annual Lincoln Dinner in West Des Moines.
The former U.N. ambassador’s apparent escalation in rhetoric also comes as other presidential hopefuls have begun accelerating their own activities in key battleground states around the country.
Late last month, a super PAC tied to former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo began airing digital ads in South Carolina and Iowa apparently teasing a national run. Former Vice President Mike Pence has made several trips to South Carolina in recent months, including a visit to a pro-life pregnancy center in the Upstate in May.
Recently elected Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin has also raised speculation of a future run for the White House after recent meetings with a number of GOP megadonors in New York, The Washington Post reported.
Throughout the week Haley spoke at events for the Iowa Republican Party and at fundraising events for figures including Reynolds, congressional candidate Zach Nunn and U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks. And in this election cycle Haley has endorsed no fewer than 45 Republican candidates in high-profile races around the country, with appearances in key states like Georgia, Virginia, Texas and New Hampshire, another early primary state.
The key factor in Haley’s future remains Trump, who has yet to announce his 2024 plans. Despite her early criticisms of his role in the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol, Haley has remained close to the former president, and has tiptoed around questions of whether she would mount a direct challenge to him in a competitive Republican primary.
Contact Nick Reynolds at 843-834-4267. Follow him on Twitter @IAmNickReynolds.