As Haley launches her 2024 campaign, a potential GOP primary collision with Tim Scott awaits

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Declaring “it’s time for a new generation of leadership,” former two-term South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley officially jumped into the race for the White House, announcing her Republican presidential bid in a campaign video released on social media Tuesday. Haley, who served as ambassador to the United Nations during former President Donald Trump’s administration, is expected to formally declare her candidacy at an event in this historic coastal city on Wednesday, joining Trump as the only major Republicans to date to launch campaigns. While South Carolina’s first woman governor and the nation’s first female Asian American governor and the first Indian American Cabinet member can tout an impressive resume and an undefeated record in electoral politics, she faces a challenging path to her party’s presidential nomination.  Not only is Trump – who enjoys the backing of South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster and senior Sen. Lindsey Graham – standing in her way, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis – who’s seen his standing with conservatives nationwide soar in recent years – is likely to join the race in the coming months. And former Vice President Mike Pence, another likely contender, has visited South Carolina nearly ten times the past two years and has solid relations with social conservative voters in the state, who play an outsized role in GOP primary politics. NIKKI HALEY LAUNCHES PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN, JOINING DONALD TRUMP IN 2024 GOP RACE But Haley faces another potential obstacle – one much closer to home – posed by South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, the only Black Republican in the Senate and a rising star in the GOP with plenty of fundraising prowess. FIRST ON FOX: TIM SCOTT TO KICK OFF 2024 LISTENING TOUR “The fact that you have the potential of two South Carolinians in the race completely changes things,” Palmetto State based social conservative leader Dave Wilson told Fox News. Scott will be in Charleston on Thursday, the day after Haley’s campaign kick-off, to deliver a speech on Black History Month as he begins a listening tour, which was first reported by Fox News earlier this month. And Scott heads next week to Iowa – the state whose caucuses kick off the GOP’s presidential nominating calendar – to deliver an address on faith in America and to held Hawkeye State Republicans raise money. “That’s smart to step on her announcement. That was a good move by his team. It wasn’t polite but it was a good move politically,” former South Carolina GOP chairman Katon Dawson, who’s backing Haley, told Fox News. Haley and Scott served together in the South Carolina state House. Haley won the governorship in 2010, the same year as Scott election to Congress. And three years later Haley appointed Scott to fill an open Senate seat. “There would be no Tim Scott without Nikki Haley,” Dawson argued. A GOP strategist in Scott’s political orbit claimed that “Ambassador Haley is under a time crunch because she’s starting basically from scratch.” And the strategist, who asked to remain anonymous to speak more freely, argued that “it’s lazy to say Tim Scott and Nikki Haley are running in the same lane. She’s riding Donald Trump’s coattails, which are shorter every day. Tim Scott’s offering something that’s potentially fresh and new.” TRUMP’S IN – SO IS HALEY – HOW LARGE WILL THE GOP 2024 FIELD GROW? Haley and Scott have moved for many years in many of the same political circles, and have shared many of the same advisers and donors and count plenty of the same people as allies – which would complicate matters if the senator goes ahead and joins the former governor in the 2024 nomination battle. Dawson, seemingly trying to lower the temperature a bit, offered that “at the end of the day, they’re friends. They get along.” But he added “it’s going to be a complication. Is there room for the two of them? I don’t know.” Wilson, who serves as president of the Palmetto Family Council, said that the prospect of both Haley and Scott means “we are moving from simple political math to true political calculus because it’s really going to impact the coalitions that are going to be built.” Wilson, who remains neutral as the GOP nomination race heats up, emphasized that “Nikki Haley and Tim Scott draw support from a strong conservative base in our state. The impact that they will have on this race could be sizable, especially for candidates from out of state.” While Haley’s in, any announcement from Scott could be weeks or months away. From starting to build up a political team to strengthening already existing aligned political groups, Scott’s making the moves one would make ahead of launching a presidential campaign. But a source in Scott world tells Fox News that the senator “will take the spring to hear what people say.”
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