It’s a lucrative day for Nikki Haley in New York City.
The former two-term South Carolina governor who later served as U.N. ambassador in former President Donald Trump’s administration expects to raise $1.5 million at a trio of top-dollar New York City fundraisers on Tuesday, according to her campaign.
The fundraisers are the first of roughly 10 over the next two weeks that will take Haley to donor-rich environments of South Florida, California and Texas. The campaign told Fox News that the three finance events Wednesday in Palm Beach and Miami, Florida, were expected to bring in over $1 million.
The fundraisers come amid a surge in small dollar grassroots donations for Haley after she grabbed 43% of the vote in her 11-point loss last week in the New Hampshire primary to Trump, the commanding frontrunner for the Republican nomination.
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Nikki Haley speaks during a campaign event, Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024, in North Charleston, South Carolina. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)
Haley’s campaign highlighted that they raked in $4 million in the days following the New Hampshire primary, which turned into a two-candidate contest between Trump and Haley after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended his campaign days ahead of the primary.
Tuesday’s high-profile fundraiser is being co-hosted by Wall Street billionaires Leonard Stern, Cliff Asness, Stanley Druckenmiller, Ken Langone and Henry Kravis. Contributions – limited by federal law – were expected to range from $3,300 up to $16,600 per person.
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Haley faces a very steep uphill climb for the nomination, and internal polls suggest Trump enjoys a formidable double-digit lead over her in South Carolina, which holds the next GOP primary on Feb. 24.
But Haley remains optimistic she can close the gap in her home state.
“We had 1,500 people in Greenville, a 1,000 people in Charleston, 800 in Conway,” Haley said in a “Fox and Friends” interview on Tuesday morning as she pointed to rallies in her home state the past couple of days. “I’ve got a 76% approval rating there. They know I was a good governor. Now we’re going to show them I’m going to be a good president.”
After her defeat to Trump in New Hampshire, Haley pledged to continue on to her home state of South Carolina, insisting she still has a path to the nomination. (Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
Despite the tough odds she faces, major Republican donors continue to write checks to Haley.
“There’s definitely an appetite,” a Republican strategist with strong ties to the GOP donor class told Fox News. “It’s another example of the wealthy donors who invest with their heart and their emotions and not with their business sense and their head.”
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The strategist, who asked to remain anonymous to speak more freely, said, “This is a manifestation of the broader issues with the Republican Party. This is about the elites versus the grassroots. Trump has never been a candidate of the elites. He’s been successful at getting major financial support from them, but he’s not their preferred candidate. He’s the preferred candidate of the working-class, grassroots Republicans, not the big-money elites.”
Former President Donald Trump motions before speaking at a campaign event Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Loche)
Last week, a day after the New Hampshire primary, Trump warned GOP donors to stop contributing to Haley.
“Anybody that makes a ‘Contribution’ to Birdbrain, from this moment forth, will be permanently barred from the MAGA camp. We don’t want them, and will not accept them, because we Put America First, and ALWAYS WILL!” Trump warned on his Truth Social platform.
“Birdbrain” is a derogatory nickname Trump repeatedly uses to refer to Haley.
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Haley quickly capitalized on Trump’s threat, and her campaign said it raised over $1 million in the ensuing 24 hours.
The campaign told Fox News it sold over 15,000 shirts that say “barred permanently” after adding them to a campaign store for $25 following Trump’s warning to donors.
“Despite Trump’s unhinged threat to permanently ban anyone who donates to Nikki’s campaign, we’ve seen a surge of support,” a campaign spokesperson said. “We’re energizing the 50% of Republican primary voters who don’t want Trump and are rallying behind Nikki.”
The strategist with ties to the donor class told Fox News, “I don’t think anybody’s intimidated by Trump’s bluster. I think everybody realizes that if they do support Nikki, Trump’s going to need all hands on deck and somehow, miraculously, they’ll be welcomed back with open arms with their checkbooks if they’re so inclined when this is all over.”
While Haley crisscrosses the country to meet with top contributors, her campaign manager Betsy Ankney is expected to make the case this week with a network of Republican megadonors known as the American Opportunity Alliance.
Also invited to the gathering is Susie Wiles, a top adviser on the Trump campaign.
The former president, who has had a stormy relationship over the years with some in the GOP donor class, has been making a concerted effort this cycle to mend fences and court top dollar contributors.
“I think they’re running a much more sophisticated campaign this year than ever before,” a major GOP bundler who asked to remain anonymous told Fox News. “And so, as part of that, they’re looking to consolidate Republican support, both politically and financially.”
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