Nikki Haley seen as competent alternative for Republicans tired of Trump

Presidential candidate Nikki Haley addresses the packed house at the Twin Barns Brewing Company in Meredith on Wednesday.

Presidential candidate Nikki Haley addresses the packed house at the Twin Barns Brewing Company in Meredith on Wednesday. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Presidential candidate Nikki Haley addresses the packed house at the Twin Barns Brewing Company in Meredith on Wednesday, November 29, 2023.

Presidential candidate Nikki Haley addresses the packed house at the Twin Barns Brewing Company in Meredith on Wednesday, November 29, 2023. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Presidential candidate Nikki Haley addresses the packed house at the Twin Barns Brewing Company in Meredith on Wednesday, November 29, 2023.

Presidential candidate Nikki Haley addresses the packed house at the Twin Barns Brewing Company in Meredith on Wednesday, November 29, 2023. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Kendra Sprague (left) and Pat Meattey both from New Durham wait to hear Nikki Haley at the Twin Barns Brewing Company in Meredith on Wednesday.

Kendra Sprague (left) and Pat Meattey both from New Durham wait to hear Nikki Haley at the Twin Barns Brewing Company in Meredith on Wednesday. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Supporters of Nikki Haley shout as they wait for their candidate to arrive at the Twin Barns Brewing Company in Meredith on Wednesday, November 29, 2023.

Supporters of Nikki Haley shout as they wait for their candidate to arrive at the Twin Barns Brewing Company in Meredith on Wednesday, November 29, 2023. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Supporters cheer as Presidential candidate Nikki Haley arrives at the Twin Barns Brewing Company in Meredith on Wednesday, November 29, 2023.

Supporters cheer as Presidential candidate Nikki Haley arrives at the Twin Barns Brewing Company in Meredith on Wednesday, November 29, 2023. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

By ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL

Monitor staff

Published: 11-29-2023 4:50 PM

Modified: 11-29-2023 5:42 PM


Republican presidential candidate and former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley isn’t afraid to point the finger at her own party every once in a while.

As part of another swing through New Hampshire on Wednesday, a day after receiving an endorsement from the powerful conservative group Americans for Prosperity, Haley once again made sure to highlight where the Republican Party has fallen short, in addition to her usual digs at President Joe Biden and the Democratic Party.

“I would love to tell you that Biden did that to us,” she said, referring to increases in food and fuel costs since the COVID-19 pandemic ended, “but I’ve always spoken in hard truths, and I’m going to do that with you today: Biden has sent us down this rollercoaster of socialism that’s dangerous, and we have to stop it. But our Republicans did that to us too.”

She cited how Republicans added $7.4 billion in “pet projects” through earmark spending bills, while Democrats put in $2.8 billion.

Haley also called for an end to making abortion a demonizing issue, calling herself proudly pro-life, but emphasizing it as a highly personal subject.

“I don’t judge anyone for being pro-choice anymore than I want you to judge me for being pro-life,” she said.

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As she stated during the Republican primary debates, Haley argued that Republicans wouldn’t be able to pass any type of abortion ban, like the 15-week ban proposed by South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham in Sept. 2022. To pass legislation, she reminded the folks in attendance, they’d need 60 votes in the Senate.

Both parties have made exceptions to the 60-vote threshold in the past, though. In 2013, Nevada Democrat Harry Reid abolished the filibuster for executive and most confirmations to the judiciary; and in 2017, Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell, abolished the threshold for Republicans to confirm Neil Gorsuch’s appointment to the Supreme Court.

Haley’s more measured stance on abortion was a welcomed talking point for New Durham resident Pat Meattey.

“She has a fresh approach that makes sense,” she said. “I really like that about her.”

Meattey attended Wednesday’s event with her friend, Kendra Sprague. Both supported Trump in 2020, though Sprague noted she did so with much hesitation.

Sprague hasn’t yet made up her mind but noted Haley’s extensive résumé as something she respects.

“I guess the reason I like her is because she was a governor, so she has administrative experience,” she said. “Also, she was in the U.N., so she has international experience. She understands the world. Those are the reasons that I like her. It’s not so much issues for me.”

Meanwhile, Meattey said she’s deciding if she’ll support Haley or Florida governor Ron DeSantis. Either way, though, she hopes the party can coalesce behind a single alternative to former president Donald Trump.

Both, like many Americans, are hoping to avoid a rematch between Trump and Biden next November.

“Last time, I was very conflicted, and I’m conflicted again,” Sprague said of the 2020 and 2024 general elections. “I don’t understand why we’re in this place. I don’t understand why (Trump) has surged. I don’t know why he’s got the support. The media makes it sound like he’s way ahead, and he’s going to win the nomination. It makes me sad.”