GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley is simultaneously celebrating a key endorsement and mocking a political rival.
On Tuesday, the former South Carolina Governor received a lucrative endorsement from the Koch network-backed Americans for Prosperity. This endorsement comes with plenty of cash and loads of GOP street cred.
But almost immediately, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his campaign went on the offensive, attempting to portray the nod as an establishment scarlet letter and a de facto endorsement for former President Donald Trump. Team DeSantis claimed Haley has no chance of securing the Republican nomination for President or defeating incumbent Democrat Joe Biden.
Haley’s super PAC, SFA Fund, responded with its blistering critique in an email blast to supporters.
“Desperate Ron DeSantis and his team are crumbling at the news — and with a team that’s constantly falling apart, it’s no wonder AFP chose to endorse Nikki,” the group wrote.
The email includes a list of “facts” outlining how Haley is “a champion of conservative values who has the grit, willpower, numbers, and support to take on” Trump while also demonstrating how the DeSantis campaign is “projecting their own failures on a candidate who continues to rally support in the early states.”
Those “facts” include an NBC News/Des Moines Register poll taken in late October showing Haley and DeSantis tied in Iowa at 16% support. But the email also notes DeSantis had bled support from the 30% he enjoyed as early as April.
Similarly, SFA Fund points to DeSantis’ fifth place showing in New Hampshire, where he went from second place in March at 29% support to just 7% in the most recent polling.
The email further notes that “not only has DeSantis been forced to go all in on Iowa and move staff from their headquarters in Tallahassee to Iowa, but key senior campaign staff have made the move as well.”
It also mentions the resignation of Chris Jankowski from DeSantis’ Never Back Down super PAC. The New York Times reported Jankowski resigned as the PAC’s chief executive on the eve of Thanksgiving “after days of infighting among DeSantis allies over strategy, financing and how to blunt the momentum” of Haley.
But the email didn’t stop there. It also spotlights DeSantis world’s troubling campaign finance situation, noting that “donors have abandoned Ron DeSantis in favor of Nikki Haley” and offering a quote from one such donor.
“I’m a bit agitated these guys have spent all this money for no return,” Vanity Fair quotes an unnamed donor discussing Florida’s Governor.
It also notes that 75% of DeSantis donors have maxed out, indicating that money is drying up.
“Meanwhile, this is what Nikki Haley’s operation looked like (Monday) in South Carolina,” the email teases above a screenshot of an X post noting a “town hall venue … at capacity” where supporters were “having to stay outside to watch from a TV screen.”
“AFP read the room and determined Ron DeSantis supporters and donors were on to something as they abandoned his campaign at record rates,” SFA spokesperson Preya Samsundar concludes in the email blast. “In the fight to take on Donald Trump, become the nominee, and defeat Joe Biden next Fall, Nikki Haley has done what Ron DeSantis and his team have failed to do since Day One: run a winning operation that inspires confidence and excitement among voters. AFP picked a winner with their endorsement of Nikki Haley, and we welcome their support as we get ready for the Iowa caucuses.”