Billionaire-backed Koch network halts Nikki Haley campaign funding after South Carolina loss

Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley reacts while speaking about her husband, Maj. Michael Haley, who is currently deployed with the South Carolina National Guard, during a campaign stop at the Clemson University at Greenville ONE building ahead of the Republican presidential primary election in Greenville, South Carolina, U.S. February 20, 2024. 
Alyssa Pointer | Reuters

Americans for Prosperity Action, the network backed by billionaire Charles Koch, is pausing its financial support of GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley’s campaign a day after she lost to former President Donald Trump in her home-state primary in South Carolina.

AFP Action said it still endorses Haley for president but now its support will only come in the form of words — not cash.

“Given the challenges in the primary states ahead, we don’t believe any outside group can make a material difference to widen her path to victory,” AFP Action CEO Emily Seidel wrote in an email to staff, first reported by Politico. “And so while we will continue to endorse her, we will focus our resources where we can make the difference.”

AFP Action declined to provide further comment beyond the staff memo.

AFP Action closing its wallet is the next nail in the coffin for the former South Carolina governor who has taken a series of hits since the start of the election year. Along with AFP Action, billionaire Reid Hoffman has also stopped funding Haley’s presidential bid.

Despite the setbacks, Haley has pledged to stay in the race through Super Tuesday on March 5. Her campaign said that AFP Action pulling funding has not changed that calculus and that it still has the resources to stay afloat.

“AFP is a great organization and ally in the fight for freedom and conservative government. We thank them for their tremendous help in this race,” Haley’s campaign said in a statement on Sunday. “Our fight continues, and with more than $1 million coming in from grassroots conservatives in just the last 24 hours, we have plenty of fuel to keep going. We have a country to save.”

AFP Action will instead channel its resources to finance Republican campaigns on the congressional level. It has so far endorsed five candidates running for Senate and 19 candidates running for House seats.

“With the South Carolina presidential primary this weekend and the Senate engagement really heating up,” Seidel wrote in the email. “It’s time to take stock of where we are and – as we always do – make sure we’re optimizing our resources.”