Koch network ends financial support for Nikki Haley’s presidential bid

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley speaks during a South Carolina Republican primary watch party on Saturday. (MUST CREDIT: Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

Americans for Prosperity, the organization backed by conservative billionaire Charles Koch, will stop its spending in support of Nikki Haley’s presidential campaign, officials with the group said Sunday.

The organization – the Koch network’s flagship political group that set out last year to put its weight behind a Donald Trump opponent in 2024 – announced the change one day after the South Carolina primary saw Trump defeat Haley in her home state.

After her loss, the former South Carolina governor and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said she still planned to continue her campaign. But AFP’s super PAC, Americans for Prosperity Action, said Sunday it would no longer put its spending power toward the presidential primary, and will instead focus on supporting Republicans in down-ballot races.

AFP CEO Emily Seidel said in a public memo that the group had to “take stock” of its 2024 elections strategy. Despite its staunch support of Haley since November, Seidel wrote, the group knew “the presidential primary faced the longest odds.”

“Nikki Haley has shown us again and again that we made the right decision in supporting her candidacy and she continues to have our strong endorsement,” Seidel wrote. “But given the challenges in the primary states ahead, we don’t believe any outside group can make a material difference to widen her path to victory.”

The South Carolina primary win gave Trump, who many in the GOP view as the presumptive nominee, another significant victory on his path to the Republican nomination. Trump also won the primaries in Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Campaigns for both Trump and Haley spent big at the start of the year, January Federal Election Commission filings showed. But AFP’s decision to move its efforts away from the presidential primary is a blow to Haley, who is struggling in the primaries and relies on both big and small-dollar donors.

Seidel said AFP “will continue to endorse” Haley but will focus resources on candidates seeking seats in the U.S. Senate and House.

“This election will be decided by swing voters. And Joe Biden leads Donald Trump 2 to 1 amongst independents,” Seidel wrote. “The most important – and hardest – thing we may need to do is convince millions of voters who will never cast a ballot for Donald Trump to vote for Republican candidates for Senate and House who will advance our shared principles.”



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