Nikki Haley Raises $11 Million, Battling With DeSantis to Take on Trump

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By Ketrin Agustine

Nikki Haley Raises $11 Million, Battling With DeSantis to Take on Trump

The former South Carolina governor has made gains in recent months — in fund-raising and polling — that have helped her compete for the No. 2 spot in the primary field.

Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, has ramped up her fund-raising in recent months, a sign that her performance in the early presidential debates may have invigorated her 2024 candidacy.

Ms. Haley, who, according to her campaign, has raised $11 million across her political committees, entered October with significantly more cash on hand that can be spent on the 2024 primary than Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida — $9.1 million to roughly his $5 million — even as he out-raised her overall.

But both Ms. Haley and Mr. DeSantis’s fund-raising figures were dwarfed by the man they are chasing in the polls: Former President Donald J. Trump announced in recent days that he had raised $45.5 million in the quarter and had $36 million on hand that is eligible to be spent on the primary.

Ms. Haley’s campaign provided her fund-raising figures for the third quarter, from July 1 to the end of September, to The New York Times in advance of the Oct. 15 disclosure deadline. The numbers underscore not just her financial gains from the debates, but the extent to which she has run a lean operation, keeping a limited payroll and eschewing campaign-backed television ads so far.

Her campaign said it had saved roughly half of every dollar it had raised into her 2024 account in the last three months.

“We have seen a big surge in support and have real momentum,” said Olivia Perez-Cubas, a spokeswoman for Ms. Haley. “Nikki is emerging as the candidate who can move America beyond the chaos and drama of the past and present, and we have the resources we need to do it.”

Her campaign said it had received more than 165,000 donations in July, August and September, including from 40,000 new donors. Overall, her campaign has topped 100,000 unique contributors.

The next stage of the 2024 Republican race has in many ways become a primary within the primary between Mr. DeSantis and Ms. Haley as they compete for the role of chief rival to Mr. Trump.

At the start of the summer, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina had appeared poised to benefit as Mr. DeSantis slid in the polls. Mr. Scott was emerging as a favorite among major donors, and he already had ample funds in his campaign coffers. But his poll numbers have remained stagnant. His campaign has not yet released third-quarter fund-raising numbers — it had more than $21 million cash on hand at the end of June, much of which had been drawn from his senate campaign fund.

For the first half of 2023, the position of second to Mr. Trump had been held by Mr. DeSantis. But Mr. DeSantis’s campaign momentum stalled over the summer, and his support has deteriorated. In some surveys in New Hampshire and in her home state of South Carolina, Ms. Haley has taken the second spot. As he retools his campaign, Mr. DeSantis recently announced he was shifting staff from his Tallahassee headquarters to Iowa after raising $15 million in the third quarter.

On Monday, the Des Moines Register reported that Ms. Haley’s campaign was expanding its operations in Iowa, opening a headquarters in Clive and hiring staff and advisers.

Advisers to both Mr. DeSantis and Ms. Haley are headed to Texas this week for an important gathering of major Republican donors, a group known as the American Opportunity Alliance, to convince those contributors of their path forward against Mr. Trump. The former president’s apparently impermeable poll numbers and robust grass-roots fund-raising have led to desperation and frustration among some donors.

Among the talking points that Ms. Haley’s team will arrive armed with in Texas is that her fund-raising has ticked up while Mr. DeSantis has gone down in recent months, and that he remains more strapped than her overall. Both have supportive super PACs, but Mr. DeSantis’s allies have reported far more money — a $130 million war chest that is more than everyone else in the field — and have created a robust infrastructure in Iowa that is unrivaled in the race.

Ms. Haley’s recent rise in the polls has been accompanied by television ad spending from her super PAC, Stand for America, a major advertiser in the early states over the summer.

For Ms. Haley, the coming report will show that her campaign’s overall cash on hand grew to $11.6 million from $6.8 million at the end of the previous quarter. Most of that money, $9.1 million, is eligible to be spent in the primary; the rest is earmarked for her only if she becomes the Republican nominee.

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