Koch Network’s Americans for Prosperity PAC Endorses Nikki Haley For President

Mitch Perry, Florida Phoenix

The political network mainly funded by billionaire Charles Koch is backing Nikki Haley for president — a key endorsement that might help the former South Carolina governor in her uphill battle to win the Republican nomination over frontrunner Donald Trump.

The endorsement comes from Americans for Prosperity (AFP) Action, the Koch-based super PAC. The group announced in February that it was looking for a candidate to challenge Trump and has been running digital ads against the former president since June.

“AFP Action is proud to throw our full support behind Nikki Haley, who offers America the opportunity to turn the page on the current political era, to win the Republican primary and defeat Joe Biden next November,” says a memo written by Emily Seidel, a senior adviser with AFP Action.

“She has what it takes to lead a policy agenda to take on our nation’s biggest challenges and help ensure our country’s best days are ahead. With the grassroots and data capability we bring to bear in this race, no other organization is better equipped to help her do it.”

The memo notes that Haley, who served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under former President Trump, has shown in internally polling by AFP Action that she is “by far the strongest candidate Republicans could put up against Joe Biden in a general election — winning every key battleground state and up nationally by nearly 10 points.”

National polls have shown that, since the first GOP presidential debate in August, Haley appears to be the Republican best situated to challenge Biden in a one-on-one potential match, performing better against the Democratic incumbent than either Trump or Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“I’m honored to have the support of Americans for Prosperity Action, including its millions of grassroots members all across the country,” Haley said in a statement. “AFP Action’s members know that there is too much at stake in this election to sit on the sidelines.”

‘Globalist shills’

Andrew Romeo, communications director for the DeSantis campaign, reacted sarcastically to the announcement.

“Congratulations to Donald Trump on securing the Koch endorsement,” Romeo responded on X. “Like clockwork, the pro-open borders, pro-jail break bill establishment is lining up behind a moderate who has no mathematical pathway of defeating the former president. 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.”

The Trump campaign responded by agreeing in part with Romeo’s statement.

“The Ron DeSantis campaign finally got it right when they bitterly attacked Americans for Prosperity for being a vessel of globalist shills. That’s exactly why AFP backed Ron DeSantis in 2018 and 2022 gubernatorial races,” said Karoline Leavitt, spokeswoman for Make America Great Again Inc., in a written statement.

“Everything old is new again. The Republican primary is split between career politicians who are tools of the billionaire class and the one man who delivers for the American people. Americans for Prosperity has already lit millions of dollars on fire this primary only to watch President Donald Trump’s lead grow. No amount of money can break the bond President Trump has with voters. He kept his promises.”

Considerable resources

Its memo says that AFP Action will deploy all of its considerable resources to help Haley, who, while she has surpassed DeSantis in states like New Hampshire and South Carolina for second place, still trails Trump in all national and early state votes by significant margins.

AFP Action says that during the 2022 midterm election, they supported candidates nationwide with more than 2 million telephone calls, 5.5 million door knocks, and more than 69 million pieces of mail.

“With the largest grassroots operation in the country and a presence in all 50 states, AFP Action’s endorsement will put thousands of AFP Action activists and grassroots leaders into the field — with a focus on the early primary states — knocking on doors and urging voters to support Nikki Haley,” reads the memo.

“Additionally, in the coming days we’ll launch extensive mail, digital, and connected television campaigns to supplement those on-the-ground efforts. As we’ve proven in past elections, a layered approach of digital and mail, combined with that crucial one-on-one conversation at the door or on the phone, is the best way to engage and persuade voters.”

Florida Phoenix is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Florida Phoenix maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Diane Rado for questions: info@floridaphoenix.com. Follow Florida Phoenix on Facebook and Twitter.

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