Nikki Haley Holds First Campaign Kickoff Event – Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who announced her 2024 presidential bid on Tuesday, officially kicked off the campaign to become the GOP nominee in Charleston, S.C., before a packed crowd of supporters on Wednesday morning.
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The message in her social media video that “it’s time for a new generation of leadership” also was the basis of her first campaign speech.
“America is not past its prime, it’s just that our politicians are past theirs,” Haley told her supporters – clearly referring to the age of President Joe Biden, who turned 80 in November.
Nikki Haley: Strong Early Support
She was introduced at the event on Wednesday by Republican Rep. Ralph Norman, who represents the Palmetto State’s 5th District. Norman praised the former governor, declaring, “Nikki and I are Republicans, but we are conservatives first. We can’t say that about every Republican.”
He added, “Nikki Haley has those very qualities desperately needed in America today. A fierce, a bold leader, who will fight for America.”
Norman has also been seen as a supporter of former President Donald Trump, who was Haley’s former boss when she served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and who will likely be her rival for next year’s Republican nomination.
Haley is only the second Republican to officially announce her presidential bid after Trump, who declared that he’d seek the White House a third time from his home at Mar-a-Lago last November.
Also present at Wednesday’s rally was Cindy Warmbier – mother of Otto Warmbier, who died in June 2017 after being imprisoned and tortured in North Korea. Mrs. Warmbier has credited Haly’s support in helping with her son’s release.
“I came here to tell you how Nikki Haley changed my life. To tell you that Nikki was a glimmer of light in the darkest period of my life. To tell you why America would be lucky to have Nikki Haley in the White House,” Warmbier said, later adding, “We need Nikki Haley fighting for all our children the way she fought for Otto.”
Hitting the Campaign Trail
Having officially announced, Haley will now be hitting the campaign trail with plans stops on Thursday in New Hampshire and then on to Iowa.
These two states kick off the Republican nominating schedule next February.
Though still a year away until the primary season begins, Haley will have to log the miles traveling to the early primary states to gain name recognition and to build momentum before other expected high-profile names enter the racing – notably Ron DeSantis, who is considered the favorite in a match-up against Trump and Biden.
Nikki Haley noted on Wednesday that she has “never lost an election” and added, “when people underestimate me, it’s always fun.”
The New Comeback Kid?
The daughter of Indian immigrants, Haley – South Carolina’s first female governor – shouldn’t be dismissed as her record shows.
Often an underdog, she’s faced a number of significant political fights.
In 2004, Haley challenged incumbent state representative Larry Koon for the Republican primary for the South Carolina House of Representatives to represent District 87.
At the time, he was the longest-serving legislator in the South Carolina Statehouse. She forced a runoff, defeated Koon, and then ran unopposed in the general election.
In 2010 she ran for the Republican nomination for governor of South Carolina.
Though polling in last place in the GOP race in the run-up to the primary, she received a surprise endorsement from former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, along with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. She went on to win the election and was elected a second time before resigning to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
Haley may be seen as a “wild card” at this point, but it would be way too soon to count her out.
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Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.