Haley attracts Biden donors as she tries to chase down Trump

The former U.N. ambassador attracted thousands of donations from those who gave to the president during his 2020 campaign.

Feb 22, 2024 - 08:07
Haley attracts Biden donors as she tries to chase down Trump

Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley is attracting thousands of donations from people who gave to President Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign as she tries to cobble together a coalition of anti-Trump voters.

More than 5,200 donors to Biden’s 2020 campaign have backed Haley financially, including roughly 1,600 who gave more than $500,000 in January alone, according to a POLITICO analysis of Haley’s most recent fundraising report, filed Tuesday night with the Federal Election Commission.

That report lists donors who give at least $200 total, and Haley’s campaign reported raising money from more than 55,000 such “large-dollar” donors in the month of January, and 123,000 in total over the course of her entire campaign. But crossover donors, who give to politicians of both parties, are generally rare in politics, making the number of donors who previously gave to Biden notable. It’s especially striking because Haley is currently running in the Republican primary to be the nominee to take on Biden in November.

Still, Haley’s fundraising base is predominantly Republican. Over 3,000 large-dollar donors who previously gave to Trump in 2020 financially supported her campaign in January, and nearly 10,000 overall this cycle. Taken together, Haley’s ability to draw from both former Biden and Trump donors illustrates the coalition she has sought to piece together, which includes moderate and independent voters who are unhappy with Biden, Trump or both.

In total, Haley’s campaign raised $11.5 million and spent $13.1 million last month, according to the report her campaign filed late Tuesday. That makes January — the month of the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary — her highest-grossing month so far as she emerged as the sole GOP challenger to Trump. Her campaign reported having just shy of $13 million in the bank as of Jan. 31, compared to more than $30 million cash on hand reported by Trump’s campaign.

The former U.N. ambassador has tried to attract unaffiliated voters — she noted on the campaign trail recently in her home state of South Carolina that anyone who did not vote in the Democratic primary earlier this month is eligible to vote for her this Saturday — and her allies have more actively courted Democrats.

General election polls have repeatedly shown Haley performing better against Biden than Trump, largely based on a subset of voters who prefer her to either. But those voters are a small enough group — and Trump has shown such domination of the GOP — that they have not been able to pull Haley to victory in any Republican primaries so far.

The financial numbers included in Haley’s campaign report do not represent the entirety of her fundraising; Team Stand for America, a joint fundraising committee between Haley’s campaign and other political committees she controls, does not have to file a disclosure with the Federal Election Commission until April.

And it's clear that Haley is still plowing money into advertising as she tries to chase down Trump. Her campaign spent nearly $7.4 million on media production and placement, accounting for more than half of its spending.

The main pro-Haley super PAC, SFA Fund Inc., also reported spending nearly $13.7 million in January alone. That’s more than the major pro-Trump super PAC — MAGA Inc. — spent, and more than double what the pro-Trump operation spent on efforts like television advertising or get-out-the-vote efforts.

The super PAC is going for broke; it spent down to under $2 million in cash reserves at the end of the month. Cash on hand matters much less for super PACs than for campaigns because super PACs can get one or several donors to write massive checks to fund operations.

But notably, SFA Fund Inc., did not receive a single seven-figure check in January. Instead, her haul was buffered by people giving five and six figures.