Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has been gaining ground in recent polling, and it was evident during Wednesday night’s Republican presidential primary debate. The debate, described by RealClearPolitics as a “running knife fight,” highlighted the changing momentum in the race as various candidates targeted Haley.
One notable moment came when businessman Vivek Ramaswamy accused Haley of corruption and held up a makeshift sign for a photo opportunity. Ramaswamy criticized Haley’s campaign launch video for sounding “woke” and claimed she had a corruption problem. Despite Ramaswamy’s accusations, it’s worth noting that Haley’s husband is currently on a one-year deployment overseas as an officer in the South Carolina National Guard.
Crowd Goes Wild After Ramaswamy Holds Up Notepad with Anti-Nikki Haley Message pic.twitter.com/rdh9Wd2nSL
— The Liberty Loft (@thelibertyloft) December 7, 2023
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis also criticized Haley, but former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie defended her, calling her a “smart, accomplished woman” and dismissing Ramaswamy as the “most obnoxious blowhard in America.”
In terms of polling, three months ago, DeSantis was leading with 14.9 percent, followed by Ramaswamy at 6.8, Haley at 6.1, and Christie at 2.8. Trump, however, dominated the polls with 53.6 percent. In the latest polling average, DeSantis slipped to 13.5, Ramaswamy to 4.9, Christie to 2.5, and Haley rose to 10.3. Trump remained in the lead with 61 points.
While it remains to be seen how Ramaswamy’s accusations will impact the race, Haley has already achieved something his campaign hasn’t – hitting double digits in the polling average. As Haley’s numbers rise, it’s no surprise that she has become the target of other campaigns vying for second place.
The Iowa caucus, which takes place on January 15, will mark the official start of the primary race, and Ramaswamy’s attack on Haley may have been his last chance to take aim at her face-to-face. Only time will tell if his pursuit of a viral moment will have any lasting impact.