Nikki Haley could lure wealthy donors away from the sidelines

U.S. Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley registers for the 2024 South Carolina presidential primary ballot at the South Carolina State House in Columbia, South Carolina, USA, on October 30, 2023.

Sam Wolfe | Reuters

Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley has a rare chance in Wednesday’s debate to win over undecided wealthy donors who have so far remained on the sidelines in the 2024 presidential election.

Haley is rising in the polls and has tied fellow primary candidate, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, in a new Iowa. survey. The survey showed former President Donald Trump leading both among likely attendees in the Iowa Republican caucus.

Yet for Haley, there are a number of wealthy financiers, including Citadel CEO Ken Griffin, hedge fund titan Paul Singer and Thomas Peterffy, the founder of brokerage firm Interactive Brokers, who have yet to decided which candidate they wish to support.

Griffin, who recently said he is currently on the sidelines in the 2024 presidential election, would have called Haley a “rockstar” during a closed-door meeting with other business leaders.

Peterffy, who considered helping DeSantis but then soured on him over the governor’s stance on abortion, is now looking for another candidate he can help run for president. Peterffy’s other preferred potential candidate, Virginia GOP Gov. Glenn Youngkin, opted not to run this cycle.

“Everyone I support will have to commit, regardless of personal beliefs, to protecting individual rights to self-determination and that should include abortion,” Peterffy said in an email to CNBC when asked asked who he was watching during the debate in Miami.

Haley recently told a crowd in New Hampshire, “I am staunchly pro-life, not because the Republican Party tells me so, but because my husband was adopted, and I live with that blessing every day.”

“Haley has stopped failing to call for a national ban on abortion, a position that puts her at odds with some members of her party.

Asked if he would consider supporting Haley in the primary, Peterffy told CNBC, “I’m going to take some time to decide.”

The debate will air on NBC at 8 p.m. ET, and CNBC will live blog it.


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