Nikki Haley’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination is facing a critical juncture, especially in the wake of former President Donald Trump’s dominant win in the Iowa caucuses. Top Haley donors, in discussions with CNBC, revealed a growing sense of urgency and even desperation as they consider the crucial upcoming New Hampshire primary. There’s a consensus among these donors that if Haley fails to achieve a significant victory in New Hampshire, her chances in the primary race could be effectively over.
Andy Sabin, a prominent New York businessman and a major supporter of Haley, expressed his concerns about the steep challenge ahead. Although a staunch advocate for Haley, Sabin acknowledged Trump’s strong position and admitted that Trump might be the only viable option left for him. His shift in stance, from refusing to support Trump to seeing him as a potential choice, highlights the changing dynamics within the Republican donor community.
Eric Levine, a lawyer and fundraiser for Haley, also stressed the paramount importance of New Hampshire for her campaign. He believes a victory in New Hampshire could prolong the primary race, offering Haley a fighting chance. However, others are less optimistic. An investment banking executive and former Haley donor has already conceded to the likelihood of Trump’s success in both the Republican primary and the general election.
Haley’s performance in the Iowa Caucuses was underwhelming for her campaign, failing to secure the second-place finish they had hoped for. With the majority of the votes counted, Trump led with 51%, followed by Ron DeSantis and then Haley, who managed to win only one out of 99 counties. Current polling data does not forecast a significant improvement for Haley in New Hampshire, where Trump maintains a substantial lead.
As the Republican primary unfolds, the focus and expectations are now heavily centered on the New Hampshire primary. It stands as a pivotal moment for Haley’s campaign, potentially determining whether her top donors will continue their support or shift their allegiance to Trump. The situation underscores the volatile and unpredictable nature of the Republican primary race, where candidates’ fortunes can rapidly change based on the outcomes of key early states like New Hampshire.