Rumors are swirling ahead of Tuesday’s primary in The Granite State, as Nikki Haley potentially faces an uphill battle against former President Donald Trump.
Based on recent polling data, it appears that Haley, despite her considerable efforts, is likely to lose out to Trump once again. Fueling the debate is information about Haley’s New Hampshire campaign director who is believed to have had some affiliation with a group that supported Democrats, which threw its weight behind President Joe Biden in 2020.
Tyler Clark, the one-time New Hampshire state director for a pro-Democrat group known as Sixteen Thirty Fund, joined Haley’s team towards the end of last year. Interestingly, in the web of political donations and affiliations, this fund can be traced back to one of the largest liberal dark money networks in the U.S, Arabella Advisors. As of now, both Arabella Advisors and Sixteen Thirty Fund are scratching their heads over claims of mismanaged finances, subject to scrutiny by the D.C Attorney General’s office.
The Sixteen Thirty Fund, significantly supported by philanthropists like George Soros, disbursed over $410 million in 2020 to fortify Democrats and dislodge Trump. Haley and her campaign team may have to deal with severe backlash in view of Clark’s previously undisclosed connection to the fund. After all, for an ex-U.N. Ambassador vying to be a frontrunner in the primaries against heavyweights like Trump and Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis, even faint traces of friction could spell trouble.
Clark’s political past doesn’t stop there. He had previously served as the New Hampshire state director for Trust in the Mission, a Super PAC that allied with GOP White House hopeful Senator Tim Scott from South Carolina. Furthermore, he had lobbied for New Hampshire chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the American Federation of Teachers, organisations conservative voices have occasionally found contentious due to their perceived liberal bias.
Current polling forecasts replicate Haley’s 2024 dilemma, holding a mirror to her shrinking chances against Trump and DeSantis, who is expected to surge far ahead. As DeSantis stated, his prediction for the New Hampshire primary is that Trump will pull far ahead. He attributed Haley’s somewhat higher appeal to the significant funds she had invested in the campaign, rather than an exemplification of her political prowess.
On the Fox News, DeSantis explored his conjecture further, hinting at Haley’s strategy to attract liberal voters could have contributed to her position in the polls. He went on to say that the astronomical amount of money Haley seems to have funneled into New Hampshire might be a factor at play. Still, he was quick to point out that the momentum appears to lean heavily in favor of Trump, a wave initiated by his win in Iowa.
DeSantis candidly expressed his belief that Trump’s commanding lead paints a definitive portrait of the upcoming New Hampshire primary. He also voiced his doubt that Haley could outperform Trump in her home state of South Carolina, emphasizing the former President’s commanding influence within the party.
Interestingly, New Hampshire’s Governor Chris Sununu, who had projected an optimistic outlook for the former South Carolina Governor, Haley, has toned down his projections. Just a few weeks ago, Sununu had predicted a landslide victory for Haley in the primary. Now, he proposes that a strong second-place finish might be a satisfactory outcome, considering the powerful position of Trump in the primaries.
This shift in stance seems to align with the broader electoral atmosphere in the Granite State, which indicates strong support for Trump. Considering his prominent lead in Iowa coupled with his consistent polling advantage over Haley, few would argue against Trump having a good day out at the primary on Tuesday.
Sununu, who has been vocally supportive of Haley for the GOP Presidential race, had previously told ABC’s Jonathan Karl that a win for Haley would represent a reboot for the party. He painted a picture of optimism, stating that if every eligible voter comes out on primary day, Haley would secure a victory with an overwhelming majority.
In early January, Sununu addressed a town hall in Londonderry in support of Haley, adamantly stating that victory was well within reach. However, in light of recent developments and changing sentiments, he’s presented an alternate viewpoint. His latest message to the press suggests a solid runner-up finish in the GOP Primary would still be regarded as a victory for Haley.
Highlighting the uphill battle ahead of Haley, Sununu admitted that there had been some tweaks to their initial expectations. He painted a strong second place for Haley in optimistic light, suggesting that it would still represent a significant accomplishment given the circumstances.
Sununu’s revised forecast suggests an acceptance of the challenging political arena that lies ahead for candidates like Haley. He claimed that their campaign had already exceeded expectations regarding a one-on-one race but recognized the toughness of the competition against candidates with the stature of Trump.
The rapidly shifting political landscape leading up to the Primary illustrates how fleeting certainties can be within the GOP Presidential race. While the battle lines appear increasingly drawn in favor of frontrunners like Trump, candidates like Haley are still striving to make a solid impression with every vote they can secure.
All of this indicates an ever-evolving race where unexpected alliances and previous affiliations can pose serious challenges. The crux, however, remains the question of whether Haley’s connection to Tyler Clark and his past associations would impact her standing within the conservative voters foundation and alter her fate within this race.