‘Truly Excited’: Big Donors Explain Why They’re Eying Nikki Haley For 2024

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Mary Lou Masters Contributor
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Several big donors are considering funding former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s campaign for president as they believe she is now the most viable alternative to former President Donald Trump, The New York Times reported Friday.

Haley has been meeting with numerous top Wall Street executives and financiers following a surge in key early state polls and several strong debate performances. Deep-pocketed business leaders expressed their interest in the former ambassador’s economic and foreign policy, as well as her moderate stance on abortion, and told the NYT they feel “impressed” and “excited” about her chances less than two months away from the first nominating contests.

“I’m a long way from making my mind up — something could change — but I’m very impressed with her,” billionaire co-founder of Home Depot Kenneth Langone told the NYT. “I think she’s a viable candidate. I would certainly like her over Trump.”

Langone has already contributed to Haley’s presidential bid, and is weighing donating additional funds, according to the NYT. Another Home Depot co-founder, Bernie Marcus, has endorsed Trump. (RELATED: Wall Street Lines Up To Back Nikki Haley’s 2024 Bid)

“It’s invigorating to be truly excited by a candidate again,” Jonathan Bush, CEO of Zus Health and cousin to former President George W. Bush, told the NYT.

Bush, who held a fundraiser for Haley’s campaign in early November, voted for President Joe Biden in 2020 and libertarian Gary Johnson in 2016, according to the NYT.

“The topic that everyone is on is, ‘How do you beat Donald Trump?’” said Bush. “And she was careful to say, ‘Look, people will decide about him, but this is where I am on certain issues.’ And she rattled off some issues, related to our debt, related to our role in the world. But what you picked up was an electric energy.”

Haley has seen a bump in the polls for the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary, which will take place on Jan. 15 and Jan. 23, respectively. The former ambassador has either tied or jumped ahead of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for second place behind only Trump in both states, according to recent polling.

GOP fundraiser Eric Levine, who heads the litigation and bankruptcy department at Eiseman Levine Lehrhaupt & Kakoyiannis, P.C., told the NYT that others are becoming more optimistic about Haley’s viability against Trump.

“There were people that don’t like Trump at all but were very skeptical that he could be stopped,” said Levine. “They now believe he can be stopped.”

The fundraiser had previously backed South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott for president, but has shifted to Haley now that the senator has dropped out of the race, according to the NYT. Levine will co-host a fundraiser for Haley in early December.

Haley has been in private talks with JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, and met with BlackRock CEO Larry Fink and former president of Goldman Sachs Gary Cohn. Citadel founder Ken Griffin is considering backing Haley’s bid, while the campaign has already drawn support from billionaire investor Stanley Druckenmiller and the CEO of Starwood Capital Group Barry Sternlicht, according to the NYT.

“I’m supporting Nikki because I think the nation needs to move on from the divisiveness and fear-mongering of the far left and right,” Sternlicht told the NYT. “I’m also opting in for a fresh face, a younger person who more accurately reflects the nation.”

Neither Haley nor Trump immediately responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.

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