Nikki Haley headed to South Carolina Wednesday and announced a new big-money Wall Street fundraiser even as former President Donald Trump crowned himself the presumptive Republican presidential nominee after he won the New Hampshire primary.
On the day after Trump notched a healthy 11% win in the Granite State, Haley insisted her strong second-place showing means it’s game on in the GOP primary, which moves on to South Carolina in a month’s time.
“The political class wanted us to believe that this race was over before it even began,” she tweeted late Tuesday. “Our fight is not over, because we have a country to save.”
Haley was expected to appear at a campaign rally outside Charleston Wednesday night and launched a $4 million ad blitz designed at making a run at Trump.
The Haley campaign reportedly announced a major Jan. 30 fundraiser in New York City headlined by Wall Street billionaires Stanley Druckenmiller, Henry Kravis and Ken Langone, one of several events that should keep her underdog campaign flush with cash for now.
But Trump holds a dominant lead in polls nationally and in conservative South Carolina, where early surveys show him up by more than 2 to 1 over Haley in her home state.
After forcing all his other rivals out of the race, Trump is warning that he will unleash the full force of his vaunted wrath on Haley.
“I don’t get too angry. I get even,” he said in a fiery victory speech.
The former president is keen to wrap up the GOP nominating contest before he faces a possible string of legal battles, including a planned March 4 federal trial in the election interference case brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith.
Despite Haley’s bravado, some pundits predicted she would face reality and pull the plug on her campaign in the coming days.
“She may reconsider once we start to see post-New Hampshire polling of South Carolina,” said Kyle Kondit, a University of Virginia political analyst.
Even if Haley puts up a good fight in South Carolina, she faces daunting odds in the Super Tuesday primaries 10 days later when huge delegate-rich states like California and Texas go to the polls.