Tue. Apr 16th, 2024
White House hopeful Nikki Haley speaks during a presidential campaign stop at the South Carolina State House on Monday, Oct. 30, 2023, in Columbia, S.C. 

James Pollard / AP

Nikki Haley, a former U.N. ambassador and South Carolina governor, officially filed Monday morning to appear on South Carolina’s 2024 presidential primary ballot after a major shakeup this past weekend, the exit of former Vice President Mike Pence from the field.

In the state House where she was once governor, Haley signed the necessary paperwork ahead of Tuesday’s primary filing deadline and said “let’s do this” to a crowd of supporters holding signs reading “Pick Nikki Haley for president” and “Women for Nikki.” 

Standing by her side were Republican U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman and, two prominent South Carolina Republicans: state Sen. Tom Davis, and state Rep. Nathan Ballentine. 

Two-time Trump voter Jennifer Minnichan, a South Carolina native who attended Monday’s event said former President Donald Trump’s personality has been the “downfall for him.” 

“Nikki Haley has the class and the integrity to be president,” Minnichan said. “That is a high office, and I want to be able to say I’m proud to be an American.”

College students were also in Haley’s crowd of supporters at the state House. Ella Papadenis, a University of South Carolina student, told CBS News her main concern in this election is that the conflict between Israel and Hamas is “going to come and affect us in the United States.” 

“That’s one of the most important issues, especially since I’m Generation Z,” Papadenis said. “I want my future and my life to be protected, saved, and that is one of the main issues that I’m happy Nikki Haley supports.”

The filing comes days ahead of the third presidential debate, on Nov. 8, in Miami. Haley is so far just one of four Republicans whose campaigns have said they have qualified for the debate. 

Haley delivered strong performances in both of the first two debates, and this third one could be key to  continuing that trajectory for her, going into the early nominating contests next year. 

A new poll released Monday morning by the Des Moines Register/NBC News shows Haley tied in second place in Iowa with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. According to the poll, 16% of Republican likely caucus goers each picked Haley and DeSantis as their choice for president. 

This was a 10-point jump for Haley and a 3-point drop for DeSantis since August. 

Both candidates, however, are still trailing Trump, who picked up 43% support among respondents. Iowa’s caucuses, the first nominating contest of the 2024 election, will be held on Jan. 15, a month before South Carolina’s primary on Feb. 24. 

Monday’s poll is the latest show of momentum for Haley and one she touted during her South Carolina filing. “I’ve always been the underdog. I enjoy that,” she told reporters. “It’s what makes me scrappy. But no one’s going to outwork me in this race. No one’s going to outsmart me in this race. It is slow and steady wins the race.”

But she also acknowledged Trump’s persistent lead. “I got one more felIa I gotta catch up to, and I am determined to do it,” Haley said. “We’ll get it done.”

Haley’s upswing comes as Vice President Mike Pence, who was languishing in polls and fundraising, suspended his campaign over the weekend.

Haley was asked in South Carolina whether Pence was a possible running mate.  

“Right now I am not focused on running mates,” Haley replied. “I think I have to focus on Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. So that’s what we’re doing. But look, I think we have an amazing, talented group of Republicans that would be great vice presidential picks.”


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