The super PAC backing Nikki Haley’s White House bid is launching a new ad Thursday touting the former U.N. ambassador’s tough stance on China, hoping it will boost her standing with New Hampshire primary voters.
The Stand For America PAC (SFA Fund) is running the ad as part of a $6.2 million Granite State media buy across broadcast, cable, and digital streaming services spanning nine weeks, which started on August 1. It features Haley’s warning that China is America’s greatest threat, a message central to the former South Carolina governor’s campaign.
Haley supporters believe it is a winning issue.
“A deep dive into the electorate shows that China is an issue that New Hampshire primary voters care about,” SFA lead strategist Mark Harris told NHJournal. “Our ad highlights the leadership strengths that Nikki Haley has shown on foreign policy on the world stage and specifically the need for President Biden to stand up against our known enemy, China.”
Haley hit the China issue while campaigning at the Iowa State Fair last weekend.
“The first thing is we make sure they no longer buy U.S. soil, and we take back what they’ve already purchased,” Haley said. “We go to our universities, and we say, ‘You either take Chinese money or you take American money, but the days of taking both are over.
“We go to China; we say we will end all normal trade relations with you until you stop killing Americans.”
While Haley’s stance on China is well-received by GOP crowds at the town halls she has held across the Granite State; polls show foreign policy isn’t a hot topic for the primary electorate.
A Manhattan Institute poll of the three early GOP primary states — Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina — found just three percent of respondents named foreign policy as their top priority.
Foreign policy wasn’t on the list of most important issues in the new Emerson College poll of likely New Hampshire GOP primary voters. Instead, 32 percent said the economy/inflation, 21 percent named housing costs, and 12 percent said “threats to democracy.”
Perhaps that explains why, in that same poll, Haley had the support of just 4 percent of those surveyed, tied with North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum — but one point ahead of entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.
In the NHJournal/co-efficient poll released a week ago, Haley was at seven percent and in fourth place, two points behind Gov. Ron DeSantis and Chris Christie, who tied at nine percent.
August 15 marked six months since Haley officially launched her campaign with a speech in Charleston, S.C., the first candidate to enter the race after former President Donald Trump announced in November 2022. Some New Hampshire GOP insiders say that the lack of movement in the polls after half a year on the trail isn’t good news for Haley.
But Haley supporters point to a July 19 SFA strategy memo Harris wrote arguing she is well positioned for the key stretch of the primary. Claiming Trump has “plateaued” and DeSantis is “in decline,” the memo said SFA has a “clear plan to help Nikki win the presidency.”
“It has long been our view that this will be the time for Nikki’s campaign to grow, and it is when our effort will really launch in full,” according to Harris.
In his endorsement published in the Union Leader on August 8, former state Sen.John Reagan (R-Deerfield) said Haley has “made America stronger and prouder in every position she’s ever held. And if we put her in the White House, she’ll take our country to extraordinary heights.”
Now the Haley campaign believes it is where it needs to be as the first presidential primary debate approaches next Wednesday.
There are plenty of doubters in New Hampshire GOP circles.
“A lot of Republicans like her,” one GOP insider told NHJournal after a Haley town hall in Bedford. “But not many are voting for her.”