Despite her aspirations, Haley hailed more likely as VP candidate

Despite her aspirations, Haley hailed more likely as VP candidate

Despite her aspirations, Haley hailed more likely as VP candidate

Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has made it official: she's entering the 2024 presidential race.

The 51-year-old Haley made her announcement Tuesday via video, becoming the first major challenger to former President Donald Trump, who she served under as ambassador to the United Nations. The former Republican governor said the country is in need of a "generational change," a reference to the 76-year-old Trump's age.

According to RealClearPolitics, Haley is polling at just under 4% – fourth among likely Republican hopefuls, behind Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and former Vice President Mike Pence.

Jameson Taylor is director of policy and legislative affairs at AFA Action. He suggests Haley actually has her sights set a bit lower than she's saying.

Taylor, Dr. Jameson (AFA Action) Taylor

"Nikki Haley is the first of a group of second-tier candidates who are not really running for president. They're actually running for vice president or for a Cabinet position," Taylor opines.

"In this case, any candidate like Haley who is a woman or a minority has a good chance of being vice president. And we're seeing other candidates like [South Carolina Senator] Tim Scott probably thinking the same thing," he offers. "In Haley's case, she is obviously both a woman and a minority."

"I think it's a non-story," says Tom Zawistowski, an Ohio-based tea party leader. "She won the governorship of South Carolina but she's not a name that resonates across the country, and certainly not with conservative people." 

Haley is the daughter of Indian immigrants and grew up enduring racist taunts in a small South Carolina town – something she has long referenced that impact her personal and political arc, as noted by The Associated Press. And at least one Republican donor sees that as a possible advantage for Haley should she grab the nomination.

"I think as a woman of color and a daughter of legal immigrants from India, she'd give the Democratic Party no reason to exist. All their woke crap goes out the window," said New York-based Republican donor Eric Levine. "I think she's a spectacular candidate."

Regardless, Taylor contends Haley has issues of concern to GOP conservatives and evangelicals that might pose a problem.

"[Her] political record as a state lawmaker and as governor of South Carolina is unremarkable," he states. "In 2016, she also opposed a transgender bathroom bill that would protect women when they go to the restroom; and during the 2016 election she said she was not a fan of Donald Trump."

Though it is early, Taylor believes it is a race between Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis.

AFN reported on Tuesday that even though DeSantis hasn't thrown his hat into the ring, Trump felt compelled to dump on the Florida governor during a radio interview.

Back in South Carolina, retired Clemson political science professor Dr. Charles Dunn has watched Haley at work in The Palmetto State. His political advice is to not count her out.

"She is extraordinarily bright," he says. "She has faced a lot of men, particularly, who counted her out and lost." 

Editor's Note: AFA Action is an affiliate of the American Family Association, the parent organization of the American Family News Network, which operates AFN.net.