U.S. Republican presidential hopeful and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks during a campaign rally at Norfolk Hall at Suffolk Punch in Charlotte, North Carolina, on March 1, 2024.

U.S. Republican presidential hopeful and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks during a campaign rally at Norfolk Hall at Suffolk Punch in Charlotte, North Carolina, on March 1, 2024.
| Photo Credit: AFP

Indian-American Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley has bagged her first senatorial endorsement as her campaign announced that it has raised a whopping $12 million in February.

Yet to win a single primary so far, Ms. Haley on Friday ruled out a third-party run asserting that she is a Republican to the core.

Fighting a losing Republican primary battle against her former boss and former president Donald Trump, the Indian-American is trailing behind by a massive 64 points against her main rival in the Super Tuesday States.

Also Read | Trump vows to crush Haley as Republican race heads south

Ms. Haley, 52, who has gone ballistic against Mr. Trump, 77, ahead of the Super Tuesday primary, however, ruled out a third-party run if she is defeated in the party’s electoral battle.

“All the talk about the independent No Labels, all that — I haven’t talked to anybody about that. I know that they have sent smoke signals, but I’m a Republican,” she told reporters at a media round table in Washington.

The Indian-American was in Washington DC to address Republican supporters in the national capital where she hammed Mr. Trump for his policies and told her party colleagues that the country could no longer afford to have another four years of chaos.

“When I started the race…we had 14 people in the race. I defeated a dozen of the fellas. I just have one more I have to catch up to,” she said.

“Do we want more of the same or do we want to go in a new direction?” she told her supporters in Washington DC.

Meanwhile, Ms. Haley bagged her first senatorial endorsement from Senator Lisa Murkowski from Alaska. “I’m proud to endorse Gov. Nikki Haley,” Sen. Murkowski said.

“America needs someone with the right values, vigour, and judgment to serve as our next President — and in this race, there is no one better than her. Nikki will be a strong leader and uphold the ideals of the Republican Party while serving as a President for all Americans,”  she said.

“I’m grateful to Sen. Murkowski for her support and leadership,” Ms. Haley said.

“Sen. Murkowski represents the best of Alaska — she is a trailblazer and a strong, independent voice who doesn’t bow down to the powers that be in Washington. As President, I will fight to make Alaskans — and all Americans — proud by restoring fiscal sanity, energy dominance, and limited government,” she said.

Her campaign was announced to have raised $12 million in February. She had raised $16.5 million in January, the highest ever for her. The $8.5 million in grassroots donations is a testimony to Ms. Haley’s support among hardworking Americans who are “tired” of Donald Trump’s “chaos and division”, the campaign said.

“A substantial portion of Republicans are rejecting Trump’s divisive politics and isolationist policies,” said.

“They are rallying around Nikki Haley’s conservative message, sending small-dollar contributions with handwritten messages, and showing up in droves as she travels across the Super Tuesday states. Like Nikki, they believe America is worth fighting for,” she said.

In an interview with CNN, Ms. Haley said that she is not anti-Trump. “I defeated a dozen of the fellas because I focused on each and every one of them getting out. The last one was always going to be Donald Trump. The goal was always to get this one-on-one with Trump. What you’re hearing me say now is a contrast. That’s what people want. They want to know the differences,” she said.

“I am not anti-Trump. I am for America and the direction America can go. If you look at the Republican Party, I believe in fiscal discipline. I believe in smaller government. I believe we need to stop wasteful spending. Donald Trump didn’t shrink the government, he grew the government. He put us $8 trillion in debt in just four years, more than any other President. He is not talking about fiscal discipline or debt,” Ms. Haley said.

“I believe national security is about peace through strength. Donald Trump is talking about holding hands with Putin as he invades our allies. He’s talking about isolationism. I don’t believe in that.  I believe that we should have a country where the American Dream is possible and that we don’t have this tent of anger and division. Joe Biden and Donald Trump have both led into that,” she said in response to a question.

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