Nikki Haley, an Indian-origin Republican politician, launched her candidature for the US presidential elections in 2024 on February 14, the first significant intra-party challenge to former President Donald Trump.
Haley, a former South Carolina governor and former US ambassador to the United Nations, is expected to give her opening campaign speech on February 15 at a public gathering in Charleston.
“I’m Nikki Haley, and I’m running for president,” Haley declared in a video posted to her social media account.
The decision represents a U-turn for the ex-Trump Cabinet member, who stated two years ago that she would not run for president against her former employer in 2024.
But she changed her mind in recent months, noting the country’s economic woes and the need for “generational change,” a reference to Trump’s age of 76.
Haley, 51, is the first of several Republicans who will make the campaign circuit in the coming months. Among them are Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott.
President Joe Biden has announced his intention to run for reelection in 2024, thereby putting a stop to any Democratic primary race.
“I’ve never lost an election, and I’m not going to start now,” Haley has frequently boasted about her track record of confounding political predictions.
If elected, Haley would be the first female president of the United States and the first president of Indian origin.
Haley, the daughter of Indian immigrants, grew up in a small South Carolina town facing racial slurs and has long acknowledged the influence on her personal and political development.
She was an accountant when she ran for public office for the first time in 2004, defeating the longest-serving member of the South Carolina House. Three terms later, and with little statewide recognition, Haley launched a long-shot governor’s candidature against a huge field of veteran legislators.
She received a slew of high-profile endorsements, including those from South Carolina’s current governor, Mark Sanford, and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a tea party favourite.
With her election in 2010, Haley became South Carolina’s first female and minority governor, as well as the country’s youngest at 38. She spoke at the Republican National Convention in 2012 and delivered the GOP rebuttal to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address in 2016.