Team Nikki Haley plans big outreach to Indian American community for votes and funds


As the race for the Republican presidential nomination gains momentum, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haleyhas emerged as one of the front-runners. In fact, according to some polls, she is in second place in Iowa and at first place in New Hampshire caucuses, which are important in the presidential nomination process. Historically, Iowa and New Hampshire are important states in the US presidential election because voters in these two states take the first steps in choosing the Republican and Democratic candidates who will be on the election ballot on November 3 for the presidential election.However, despite Haley’s campaign gaining ground; former PresidentDonald Trump continues to remain the frontrunner among Republican candidates.
“I am proud of the work I did in the Trump administration but we must move forward and leave the chaos and drama of the past behind. So it’s not about Trump being fit to be president again or no. It’s just I don’t think he’s the right person to be president in 2024,” Haley, a prominent Indian American in public life, who served as US ambassador to the United Nations for two years in the Trump government, told Times of India in response to an emailed question.
“Nikki’s [Haley] position has been getting stronger undoubtedly since she announced her presidential bid. That’s why Ron DeSantis [Florida Governor who is in the race for the Republican presidential nomination] and Vivek Ramaswamy [Indian American entrepreneur who is also in the race] have been attacking her so aggressively in GOP [Republican Party] presidential debates. Haley made a contrast with Trump — on spending, on China, on chaos. DeSantis and Ramaswamy have consistently tried to run as a Trump copycat, but they have been unsuccessful. DeSantis is throwing lies at the wall desperately hoping something will stick. It’s a last-ditch effort to stay relevant, and it’s not working. Same with Ramaswamy,” says Indian American entrepreneur from Houston Jiten Agarwal, who is a supporter and fund-raiser for Haley’s presidential bid.
Haley’s support base among the Indian American community across the US is growing even as the initial interest in Ramaswamy’s campaign is waning, Agarwal told the Times of India in an exclusive interview. “Indian Americans are about 1.5% of the overall population but they make up a much larger share of the presidential field. Ramaswamy may have had interest in the past but the more he speaks, the more people dislike him. He contradicts himself and tries to copy Trump, and in the process has lost his originality,” Agarwal says.
Haley, on the other hand, has come a long way since she started her campaign in February 2023. “She has got a phenomenal increase in support to her campaign by the Indian American community including of Democrats and Republicans across USA in the last few months,” he adds. And according to feedback from Haley’s campaign team, a majority of Indian American voters care more about specific issues such as education, illegal immigration, economy and healthcare rather than just supporting a candidate based on a certain religion or faith. “Haley is proud of her Indian American heritage and her life story is vindication of the fact that the US is not a racist society. She wants America to be more unified than divided. A good percentage of fence sitters in Iowa and New Hampshire have decided to vote for Nikki Haley after the presidential debates,” Agarwal feels and adds that Indian Americans in Texas and New York have emerged the biggest contributors to Haley’s campaign among the whole community across USA, as of now. And considering that Haley is behind Trump and DeSantis in terms of raised funds; her team plans to have an extensive outreach to Indian Americans across USA early next year, both for funds and votes.
“This is the first time two Indian Americans are in the top presidential race and this in itself is very exciting. When someone from our own community runs, it gets the attention of our community and draws more of us to participate in the election process; so I am very hopeful of a sizable support from the Indian Americans to Nikki Haley. I am working towards mobilising the community to support her. I don’t think that Ramaswamy is going to get anywhere past Iowa and New Hampshire primaries,” Agarwal says.
Haley is creating a pitch as a Republican presidential candidate who wants to grow the party and bring more people into the fold and is a compelling option among the conservative Republican ‘no Trump again’ voters, Agarwal believes. “Her strength is to get the law makers from both sides of the aisle together and agree on the policies which are good for the country. She has solid plans on the economy, education, immigration, border, and fentanyl crisis in the US,” he says.


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