Haley’s Wall Street donor surge draws fire at GOP debate


Former Governor from South Carolina and UN ambassador Nikki Haley (L) and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis stand onstage during the fourth Republican presidential primary debate at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on December 6, 2023. 

Jim Watson | Afp | Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy both attacked Nikki Haley’s economic views and financial ties in the fourth Republican primary debate in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Haley’s surge in polls has sparked a recent wave of donations from Wall Street veterans and other high-profile donors. Haley raised over $500,000 on Monday at a glitzy New York City penthouse event packed with financial heavies, CNBC reported.

“Nikki will cave to those big donors when it counts,” DeSantis said early in the debate.

Billionaire and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman also reportedly gave $250,000 to a super PAC backing Haley this week.

“Reid Hoffman, the person who’s effectively George Soros, Jr., funding lawsuits across this country against Donald Trump to keep him off the ballot, funding left wing causes, we discovered this week that he is one of Nikki Haley’s largest supporters,” said Ramaswamy.

A Democrat who supports Biden, Hoffman said in a LinkedIn post that he donated to Haley because “my first priority is to defeat Trump, and the primary is the first of two chances to do so.”

DeSantis and Ramaswamy also resurfaced Haley’s reported meeting last month with Blackrock CEO Larry Fink, an attack focused on Haley’s stance on ESG.

“Larry Fink, the king of the woke industrial complex, the ESG movement, the CEO of BlackRock, the most powerful company in the world, now supporting Nikki Haley,” said Ramaswamy.

Ed Sweeney, a spokesman for BlackRock, told CNBC that Fink “hasn’t made an endorsement” and declined to comment further.

Fink has championed the investing strategy that considers environmental, social and governance factors. But conservatives have decried it, and DeSantis has barred Florida state officials from using public funds to promote ESG goals.

“In terms of these donors that are supporting me, they’re just jealous,” said Haley. “They wish that they were supporting them.”

As President Joe Biden continues to poll poorly on the economy despite falling gas prices and inflation rates, Republicans see a golden opportunity.

The debate could be one of the last chances for DeSantis to cut into Haley’s momentum before the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses next month.

Once the top Republicans alternative to former President Donald Trump, DeSantis has seen his poll numbers slide in recent months, while Haley’s have steadily ticked up.

Some polls now show Haley in second place in the key primary states of New Hampshire and South Carolina — while edging up on DeSantis in Iowa, where he has focused his campaign.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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