Haley’s momentum in the GOP presidential race appears to be paying off: ‘The funding is coming through’

Addressing a standing-room-only crowd at a weekday morning town hall in New Hampshire, Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley noted that “it’s been a great couple of weeks for us.” Minutes earlier, the former ambassador to the United Nations and former South Carolina governor was introduced to the crowd – many of whom were seeing her on the campaign trail for the first time – by popular Republican Gov. Chris Sununu, who endorsed Haley on Tuesday. Haley has enjoyed momentum in the polls in recent months, thanks in part to well-received performances in the first three GOP presidential primary debates. She leapfrogged Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for second place in New Hampshire, which holds the first primary and second overall contest in the Republican nominating calendar. Haley also aims to make a fight of it in Iowa – the state whose Jan. 15 caucuses lead off the GOP nominating calendar – where the latest polls suggest she is close to pulling even with DeSantis for a distant second place behind former President Donald Trump, who remains the far and away frontrunner in the race as he makes his third straight White House bid. ‘WE’RE ALL IN’ – SUNUNU BACKS HALEY IN MAJOR 2024 ENDORSEMENT In an interview with Fox News ahead of her town hall, Haley said her campaign’s momentum is starting to pay off when it comes to fundraising. “We’ve been talking to people on the ground. We do see that the funding is coming through. We see it on the website. We see that a lot of people are going to Nikki Haley dot com and donating, and we appreciate the support,” Haley touted. “The energy is really good. It’s good on the ground. It’s good around the country.” Her campaign spotlighted that November was their largest online fundraising month of the cycle, and that December is already outpacing November “with no signs of momentum slowing down.” Haley’s team also showcased that since the first GOP presidential debate in August, they’ve raised more each subsequent month. And showing off their grassroots appeal, they noted that 95% of donations to the campaign have been $200 or less. SUNUNU ON HALEY’S 2024 RIVALS: ‘I THINK THEY SHOULD ALL GET OUT’ The campaign and affiliated committees hauled in over $11 million during the July-September third quarter of 2023 fundraising, up nearly $4 million from the second quarter. But Haley’s fundraising, while impressive, trailed DeSantis by around $4 million and lagged far behind Trump’s massive $45 million third quarter haul. Separate from the fundraising, Sununu said he’s sensing the campaign’s energy on the ground. “I’ve done town halls with all the different candidates the past three months. These are the biggest and most energetic town halls I’ve done to date with any candidate,” he told Fox News following the Thursday town hall in Atkinson. Sununu, a vocal GOP critic of Trump who mulled his own 2024 White House bid before deciding in June against a presidential run, had long said he would make an endorsement in the race ahead of next month’s New Hampshire primary. In November, he said he had narrowed his choices down to Haley, DeSantis and former Gov. Chris Christie, a longtime Sununu friend who is making his second White House bid. CHRIS CHRISTIE VOWS ‘I’M NOT GOING ANYWHERE. SO LET’S BE REALLY CLEAR ABOUT THAT’ The governor, who teamed up with Haley at four town halls since Tuesday, pointed to Wednesday evening’s campaign event in Keene, New Hampshire. “Last night was a great example, where you literally had hundreds and hundreds of people who had to get turned away. The energy was through the roof,” he said. “She’s got this amazing spark. Her numbers are moving. And now we’re throwing a little gasoline on it and people are loving it.” Sununu’s endorsement of Haley was a setback for Christie, who’s repeating his strategy from his unsuccessful 2016 Republican presidential run of placing all his chips in New Hampshire. He stands in third place in Granite State polls, a couple of points behind Haley. “I would have been happy to accept his support,” Christie said of Sununu, as he spoke with reporters Wednesday evening after holding a town hall in Londonderry, New Hampshire. But he downplayed the significance of the Sununu endorsement, arguing, “I would have known exactly what it meant. It meant one vote. And it would have been nice to hang around with him, and we could have done a buddy show like he and Nikki are doing, but in the end, these voters are not going to be told by anybody who to vote for.” “I’m disappointed. I’m not going to be stupid about it. It’s disappointing not to get it, but on the other hand, it doesn’t change my strategy here one bit,” he highlighted. Christie said he was staying in the race, telling Fox News Digital, “I’m not going anywhere, so let’s be really clear about that.” The former New Jersey governor took aim at Haley early and often during the town hall, starting with what he called her “word salad” answers when it comes to the combustible issue of abortion. Later, he accused her of “political pandering.” “The voters in this state have a right to know where she stands. Not just her happy talk. They have a right to know where she stands,” Christie told reporters after the town hall. Christie said Haley’s “unwilling to do it. She wants to be everything to everybody on that issue [abortion]. It’s too important an issue, it’s too personal an issue, and it’s too serious an issue to not answer it directly. I’ve answered it directly. She hasn’t.” Asked about Christie’s criticism, Haley told Fox News on Thursday, “He’s saying I say one thing in one state and one thing in another. That’s because I was asked two different questions. The first question was, if you were governor and the people of South Carolina wanted a six-week abortion law, would you support it? And I said yes. I would support whatever the people in the state wanted.” “But when it comes to a federal law, we have to have consensus. You can’t do that without 60 Senate votes. And so what I’m saying is, we’re not going to talk about ban or something that’s not possible. We’re not going to demonize the issue on the federal level. The country doesn’t want that. We’re going to humanize it.” Minutes later, Haley swiped at Christie and the rest of her rivals, telling the crowd at her town hall to applause that “the fellas just haven’t been able to address this the right way.” Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.
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