EXCLUSIVE: DeSantis-Supporting Key Early State Lawmakers Blast Haley Endorsement By Koch-Backed Group

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Mary Lou Masters Contributor
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Several Republican lawmakers from the key early nominating states of Iowa and New Hampshire who support Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for president slammed Americans for Prosperity (AFP) Action’s endorsement of former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley in statements exclusively provided to the Daily Caller News Foundation on Tuesday.

AFP was started by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, the sons of Fred Koch, who founded the multibillion-dollar holding company Koch Industries — the second largest private corporation in the country. Three state legislators from New Hampshire and three from Iowa blasted AFP’s political arm for endorsing Haley, arguing it will only help former President Donald Trump in the primary, and encouraged voters to buck the establishment in 2024, they told the DCNF.

“It is sad to see an organization that exists to oppose cronyism, unrestrained spending, and endless wars pass up the opportunity to support such a clear and obvious champion of its own stated principles like Governor Ron DeSantis in favor of one with a very different record and rhetoric. I trust the engaged voters of Iowa and New Hampshire to make better choices,” New Hampshire state House Majority Leader Jason Osborne told the DCNF.

“Nikki Haley is not a true conservative, so it makes sense that a pro-open border, pro-jail break DC political group chose to support a pro-open border, pro-jail break DC candidate,” Iowa House Majority Leader Matt Windschitl told the DCNF. “The truth is Ron DeSantis is the only true conservative in this race and continued ignorance of this fact all but guarantees Donald Trump to be the nominee come January, but I am confident in Iowans who will see through this political nonsense.” (RELATED: Koch-Backed Group Endorses Nikki Haley)

The Koch network’s AFP Action, which is known for heavily financing Republican candidates’ campaigns, threw its support behind Haley, arguing she is “a candidate who can turn the page and win.” The group abstained from endorsing during the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, and is known for being highly critical of Trump, according to The Economic Times.

“Nikki is honored to have the support of Americans for Prosperity Action, including its millions of conservative grassroots members all across the country,” Haley’s campaign spokesperson Ken Farnaso told the DCNF in a statement. “Ron DeSantis and his friends are throwing a temper tantrum because they’re losing. The polls show Nikki Haley is second in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. This is a two person race—between one man and one woman.”

Haley’s endorsement comes after she has recently peaked the interest of Wall Street executives, which critics have slammed her for courting the establishment and big donors who promote environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in business and have ties to China.

“This endorsement is just another data point for what the Washington establishment class has made clear all cycle: They do not want Ron DeSantis in the White House because he is a real conservative who they will not be able to control. The most important endorsement is not from some outside political group, but the voters,” New Hampshire state Rep. James Spillane told the DCNF.

The governor has the backing of 300 state legislators nationwide, with 65 in New Hampshire and 41 in Iowa, according to his campaign. In Iowa, his campaign noted, DeSantis has eight times as many state lawmaker endorsements than Haley and twice the amount of Trump.

“The reality is there is no path to victory for Nikki Haley here in Iowa or in any other early primary state, and this endorsement only helps Donald Trump. Ron DeSantis is the only true conservative running in this race and if we hope to revive America, we need President DeSantis,” Iowa state Rep. Jon Dunwell told the DCNF.

DeSantis also recently notched key endorsements from prominent Iowa conservatives, including Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds and Bob Vander Plaats, the president and CEO of The Family Leader.

“Iowans know better than to follow the will of the ruling class in Washington. Here in the Hawkeye State, we know there is only one candidate who has been doing the work and has the conservative record to prove he will follow through on securing the border, holding the Mexican drug cartels accountable, and getting this economy back on track: Ron DeSantis,” Iowa state Sen. Jesse Green told the DCNF.

DeSantis is in second behind Trump with 17.5% support in Iowa, followed closely by Haley at 15.3%, according to FiveThirtyEight’s survey compilation. In New Hampshire, DeSantis is in fourth at 7.7% behind Trump, Haley and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

“Nikki Haley has no path to victory, but the Wall Street donor class, the establishment media, and DC political groups believe their endorsements and their money override the will of the people and are attempting to handpick a globalist hawk for the Republican nominee,” New Hampshire state Rep. Erica Layon told the DCNF. “This does nothing but boost Donald Trump and hurts our country’s chances of electing someone who will truly turn this country around. Granite Staters will not be fooled by the DC ruling class and will vote for Ron DeSantis, the only true conservative, in January.”

AFP did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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