Americans for Prosperity Action has endorsed Nikki Haley for president, the group announced on Tuesday, a signal that the national group, which has a branch in Alaska, plans to spend millions to bring Republicans together for the former governor of South Carolina, who has won five out of the five political races she has entered in her political career.
It’s a bold move, considering that most polling puts Trump in the lead among Republican likely voters. As of Nov. 29, Trump is polling with nearly 59% of Republican voters, followed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at 13% and Haley at 10%, according to FiveThirtyEight.com, which compiles polling data.
An NBC poll conducted earlier this month shows that a record high 73% of Americans say the direction of the country is on the wrong track. “We have not seen this level of sustained pessimism in the history of the NBC News Poll going back to 1989,” the poll summary said. Also, a record high 69% of Americans use works like “downhill,” “disaster/hard times” or “wrong track” to describe where America is headed. In addition, majorities of voters from all political walks of life say President Joe Biden (70%) and former President Donald Trump (60%) should not run for president.
AFP says it has analyzed its own data, which shows it’s time to back someone other than Trump. AFP did not endorse in the presidential race in 2020.
“The results are incredibly encouraging: The American people are ready to move on, with nearly 75% of Republican primary voters saying they are open to supporting a candidate other than Donald Trump. In addition, nearly 60% of the Republican voters AFP spoke with who have never voted in a primary or caucus say they are ‘extremely enthusiastic’ to vote for the first time. It’s now time to help rally those voters behind a candidate who can win the primary and win the general election,” said AFP Action President Emily Seidel in a memo.
“At the outset of our strategy, we made clear that we would be business-like in our decision. We would support a candidate capable of turning the page on Washington’s toxic culture – and a candidate who can win. And last night, we concluded that analysis. That candidate is Nikki Haley,” wrote Seidel.
“AFP Action is proud to throw our full support behind Nikki Haley, who offers America the opportunity to turn the page on the current political era, to win the Republican primary and defeat Joe Biden next November. She has what it takes to lead a policy agenda to take on our nation’s biggest challenges and help ensure our country’s best days are ahead. With the grassroots and data capability we bring to bear in this race, no other organization is better equipped to help her do it.”
Haley responded that she is honored to have the support of AFP Action, “including its millions of grassroots members across the country.”
Gov. DeSantis said in a statement that the AFP endorsement of Haley should be considered an in-kind donation to the Trump campaign.
Trump, who is still popular in Alaska, faces headwinds, including the mainstream media, which reports negatively on him at every turn. While he was wildly cheered by a stadium filled with fans at a football game at the University of South Carolina over the weekend, the news media said he was greeted by loud boos.
Trump also has to fight multiple lawsuits, some of which will go to trial in the middle of the election cycle. The first major lawsuit with a court date was brought by the Biden Department of Justice. It’s related to the indictment of Trump on Aug. 1 for what DOJ’s Jack Smith says was an attempt to overturn the result of the 2020 presidential election during a rally on Jan. 6, 2021, the day the election was to be certified by the Senate.
Judge Tanya Chutkan, who has made negative statements about Trump on the record, set the trial to start March 4 — one day before Super Tuesday, the biggest day of the presidential election cycle in the spring.
Alaska’s Republican Party holds its Presidential Preference Poll, which is a nominating caucus-by-ballot exercise, March 5, Super Tuesday.