ELECTION 2020

Will Nikki Haley run for president in 2024? Plenty of time to decide, she says in Iowa visit

'There's time to worry about '24 in '22,' former U.N. ambassador says while campaigning for U.S. House candidate Ashley Hinson

Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley is shown Wednesday at the Cedar Rapids GOP Victory Office in northeast Ceda
Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley is shown Wednesday at the Cedar Rapids GOP Victory Office in northeast Cedar Rapids. The former governor of South Carolina is seen as a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2024. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — She’s not saying she won’t, but Nikki Haley is trying to tamp down the speculation that her campaign swing through Iowa is a precursor to a 2024 presidential run.

“No, no,” the former United Nations ambassador and South Carolina governor said when asked the question every politician is asked when they visit Iowa, the home of the first-in-the-nation precinct caucuses that start the presidential nomination process.

Her focus, Haley insisted, is on 2020 and electing Republicans, including 1st and 2nd District Republicans — state Rep. Ashley Hinson and state Sen. Mariannette Miller-Meeks — to Congress as well as re-electing U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst.

“There’s time to worry about ’24 in ’22,” Haley said.

Iowa, however, isn’t the only stop on the itinerary for Haley, who will be 52 in 2024. She’s campaigning for Republicans in New Hampshire — host of the first-in-the-nation primary election, as well as in Texas, Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

“Every race matters,” she said while in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, because even if President Donald Trump wins re-election, but the GOP doesn’t hold the Senate, “everything shifts.”

Whether or not she runs for president, Haley has many accomplishments.

A South Carolina native, she was the first female governor of the Palmetto State after serving in the state Legislature. At the time, she was the youngest governor in the country. Haley was the second person of Indian descent to be elected as a governor and the first Asian American female to serve in a presidential cabinet.

There’s been much speculation that Haley will seek the GOP nomination, and earlier this year she was at the top of a Washington Post https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/03/27/10-women-most-likely-be-first-female-president/ list of the 10 women most likely to be elected president. California’s U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris — now Democrat Joe Biden’s vice presidential pick — was ranked second.

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But a 2024 candidacy “is not anything that we’ve really spent a lot of time on,” said Haley, who, after leaving her UN post, formed Stand for America, which advocates for policies to strengthen the economy, culture and national security.

“I think the big key is how do we get to November,” Haley said. “And I think once November plays out, then it’s like, look at it and see where things fall.”

Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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