Ron DeSantis may be on the verge of a "full Grassley" in Iowa, but rival Nikki Haley has just secured a potentially bigger prize. The political network founded by billionaire brothers Charles and (the late) David Koch endorsed her in the 2024 race, reports the Hill. Tuesday's endorsement by Americans for Prosperity Action, announced in a memo, marks the first time the group has endorsed a candidate in a presidential race, per the Washington Post. "In sharp contrast to recent elections that were dominated by the negative baggage of Donald Trump and in which good candidates lost races that should have been won, Nikki Haley, at the top of the ticket, would boost candidates up and down the ballot," the memo reads.
It adds that the nation "is being ripped apart by extremes on both sides," and that Haley, a former UN ambassador and governor of South Carolina, has the experience "to pull our nation back from the brink." As for the implications of the endorsement: DeSantis has long had an organizational advantage over Haley because of the super PAC affiliated with his campaign, and the Koch endorsement could close that gap, per the New York Times. "It will give her access to a direct-mail operation, field workers to knock on doors, and people making phone calls to prospective voters in Iowa and beyond," per the story. Plus, she'll get TV and mail advertising campaigns, notes Politico.
Haley and DeSantis, of course, are battling for second place behind Donald Trump, who maintains a huge lead over everyone. The Florida governor's campaign sought to downplay the endorsement on Tuesday. "Every dollar spent on Nikki Haley's candidacy should be reported as an in-kind to the Trump campaign," wrote spokesman Andrew Romeo on X. "No one has a stronger record of beating the establishment than Ron DeSantis, and this time will be no different." (More Nikki Haley 2024 stories.)