In the wake of her widely-praised debate performance, GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley is stepping up her campaign in the Granite State, announcing a full slate of county chairs.
She is also doubling down on her defense of the pro-parental-rights group Moms For Liberty against attacks from a leftwing activist organization. The conflict comes on the eve of a Haley education town hall in Manchester with Tiffany Justice, a co-founder of Moms For Liberty.
The list of county chairs (see below) includes Terri Hansel, mother of Keene Mayor (and 2022 GOP congressional candidate) George Hansel. Also on the list of campaign chairs are 2022 U.S. Senate nominee Gen. Don Bolduc and former N.H. House Speaker Pro Temp Rep. Kim Rice of Hudson, both of whom were early Haley endorsers.
The Haley campaign reports a surge of voter interest and financial support after the first debate, including raising $1 million in just 72 hours. However, the former UN ambassador’s poll numbers remain in the low single digits. No public polls of New Hampshire primary voters have been released since the August 23 debate, yet national polls consistently show that, while Haley appears to have enjoyed a bump, she remains at around six percent in the RealClearPolitics average.
And frontrunner Donald Trump’s campaign said it had raised more than $7 million since the mugshot from his arrest in Atlanta was released the day after the debate.
Two post-debate strategies appear to be emerging from the Haley camp. One is to continue confronting entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy on the campaign trail, particularly over his unorthodox — and notably fluid– foreign policy stances. The other is to aggressively defend Moms For Liberty, an organization at the center of the ongoing debate over “woke” classroom content and state attempts to limit parental authority over children in public schools.
Ramaswamy, who also appeared to get a bounce out of the debate, narrowly leads Haley (7.1 percent) in the RCP average. Haley garnered praise for her takedown of Ramaswamy in the debate (“You have no foreign policy experience, and it shows!”), and her campaign is pushing an article from her hometown newspaper praising her “grit” in that exchange.
“Bless his heart,” Haley told a crowd in South Carolina, referring to Ramaswamy and his foreign policy stance on Ukraine. “If you say something that’s totally off the wall, I’m going to call you on it every single time.”
The Ramaswamy campaign says it is a sign of its momentum.
“When Nikki Haley, Chris Christie, The New York Times, MSNBC, and the rest of the bipartisan establishment are all going after you at the same time, you know you’re right over the target,” campaign spokesperson Tricia McLaughlin told NHJournal.
As for Moms For Liberty, progressives both in New Hampshire and nationwide have attacked the parents’ rights group by comparing it to the Taliban. One Democratic N. H. state representative called them “a**holes.”
In response to the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) including the organization on the same “Hate Map” as neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan, Haley responded: “Proud to stand alongside @Moms4Liberty as they use the power of their voices to hold government accountable. No one will bully us. No one will take away our rights. No one will stop us moms on a mission.”
During a NHJournal podcast interview, Justice said her group is used to the smears, though she can’t explain “why parental rights are such a threat to so many people in America right now.”
“We’ve got 120,000 members across the country who are really concerned about the education failure they’re seeing in our public schools,” Justice added. “In addition, they’re saying, ‘Wait a second, you’re having behind closed doors, private conversations with our children? No. Absolutely not.’”
Haley is hardly the only Republican backing Moms For Liberty or the principle of parents’ rights. The organization’s gathering this summer in Philadelphia drew many presidential candidates, including Gov. Ron DeSantis, as well as Haley, Ramaswamy, and Trump. But as the Haley campaign emphasizes, she is the only mom in the race, and this could be a particularly good issue for her in New Hampshire.
“New Hampshire is hungry for a new generation of tough, no-nonsense leadership, and Nikki Haley is the person for the job,” said state co-chair Solinsky. She transformed South Carolina and made it into an economic powerhouse. She went to the UN and took the ‘kick-me’ sign off America’s back. She’s our Iron Lady and New Hampshire is ready to work around the clock to make Nikki our next president!”
Haley’s New Hampshire Leadership Team and 10 County Chairs:
- General Don Bolduc – State Campaign Chair
- Former Speaker Pro Temp Rep. Kim Rice – State Campaign Co-Chair, Hillsborough County Co-Chair
- Ken Solinsky – State Campaign Co-Chair
- Former State Rep. Mary Mayville – State Campaign Co-Chair, Hillsborough County Co-Chair
- Melinda Tourangeau – State Campaign Co-Chair, Hillsborough County Co-Chair
- Jeanene Cooper – State Campaign Co-Chair, Rockingham County Co-Chair
- Sharon Bolduc – Co-Chair Women for Nikki New Hampshire
- Paul Lange – Belknap County Chairman
- Raymond Hodgkins – Carroll County Chair
- Terri Hansel – Cheshire County Co-Chairman
- Bill and Joanne Sommer – Cheshire County Co-Chairs
- Rep. James Tierney – Coos County Chair
- Eric Jostrom – Grafton County Chair
- Tim Sheedy – Merrimack County Chair
- Bethene Wuelper – Strafford County Chair
- Alice and Bob Cale – Sullivan County Co-Chairs