Nikki Haley is looking for a knockout. With her campaign infused with cash and campaign volunteers and her quick rise in New Hampshire, the former ambassador to the United Nations sees a chance to knock out Ron DeSantis and turn the GOP nominating contest into, effectively, a two-person race.
She’s heading to Iowa and using the Koch political network to strike a deathblow to the Florida governor’s campaign by building a “ground game” to turn the caucuses in her direction next month.
The New York Times writes:
With just under a month to go before January’s caucuses, Ms. Haley’s campaign — along with Americans for Prosperity Action — aims to capitalize on the momentum that her presidential bid has gained in recent months by reaching persuadable voters and firmly establishing her as the chief alternative to Mr. Trump for the Republican nomination.
And while her campaign’s efforts have yielded better polling results in other early voting states, including New Hampshire and South Carolina, she now sees a chance to secure a better-than-expected finish in Iowa.
In Iowa, where Ms. Haley had ceded ground to her better-funded rivals for most of the race, the A.F.P. Action apparatus has whirred to life, deploying its network of volunteers and staff members like Mr. Raygor across the state to knock on doors and change minds.
The super PAC has enlisted about 150 volunteer and part-time staff members to canvass the state, and it aims to knock on 100,000 doors before the caucuses, said Drew Klein, a senior adviser with A.F.P. Action. It has spent more than $5.7 million on pro-Haley advertisements and canvassing efforts nationwide since endorsing her, and it had more than $74 million on hand as of July, according to the most recent financial filings with the Federal Election Commission.
Despite the governor and evangelical leader Bob Vander Plaats endorsing DeSantis, the governor has yet to be able to dent Donald Trump’s lead in Iowa.
The Hawkeye State has long been known to “break late” in the primaries, making polling difficult. Still, a recent “Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom Iowa Poll shows 51% of likely Republican caucusgoers pick Trump as their first choice for president, up from 43% in an October Iowa Poll.
DeSantis, who was tied with Haley at 16% in October, has gained 3 percentage points to pull away from her in second place with 19%.”
Haley has, by far, polled better against Joe Biden than other Republicans. In most polls, she leads the current president by five percentage points, and a recent Wall Street Journal poll showed her up by double digits.
Conservative detractors say her lead on Biden is a mirage because she’s yet to face the leftwing onslaught like DeSantis and Trump.