A pro-Trump super PAC airs an anti-Haley ad in New Hampshire. She says that's a sign of her strength

The super PAC supporting Donald Trump’s 2024 campaign has launched a television ad targeting Nikki Haley, a move her campaign called a signal that the GOP front-runner is seeking to blunt her rise, particularly in New Hampshire

Meg Kinnard
Tuesday 19 December 2023 19:46 GMT

The super PAC supporting Donald Trump's 2024 campaign has launched a television ad targeting Nikki Haley, a move her campaign called a signal that Trump's allies are worried about her.

The ad, debuting Tuesday, marks the first such effort by either Trump, who has dominated the Republican primary, or the groups supporting him to take Haley on directly. The spot from Make America Great Again, Inc. argues that, as South Carolina governor, Haley flip-flopped over her support for a gas tax, showing clips of State of the State addresses in which she opposed, then called for, such a measure.

New Hampshire can’t afford Nikki ‘High Tax’ Haley, a narrator says in the ad.

Ahead of the ad’s release, Haley was already disputing its premise on social media, saying Tuesday night in a post on X that the ad signified that “someone’s getting nervous."

Haley’s super PAC responded with a New Hampshire ad of its own, arguing that the front-runner is spreading misleading claims about her record “because Trump knows Haley’s the only one who can beat him."

The ads draw heightened focus to New Hampshire, where Haley and another 2024 Republican, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, have been focusing their campaigns. Late last week, Christie launched his own ad in the state, accusing Haley and Ron DeSantis of largely going after each other and avoiding Trump, and saying Christie is the “only one” positioning himself to take on the front-runner directly.

Over the weekend, Trump told New Hampshire voters that they would "weed out the insincere RINOs ... Republicans in name only,” referring to rivals DeSantis — the Florida governor who was endorsed by Trump in 2018 — and Haley, who served as his United Nations ambassador. Trump alleged that his allies-turned-opponents “will betray you just like they betrayed me.”

The MAGA Inc. spot leaves out a significant part of the gas tax proposal Haley floated as governor, in 2015. In the speech cited, Haley went on to say that, “in order to get my signature on any gas tax increase,” South Carolina would also “need to cut our state income tax by 2%.”

That plan, her campaign reiterated this week, died in the state Legislature. South Carolina lawmakers ultimately raised the gas tax under her successor, overriding a veto by Gov. Henry McMaster, Trump's top backer in the state.

“Donald Trump’s false attack ad sends a loud and clear message: Nikki Haley is surging and Trump is scared,” said Haley spokesperson Olivia Perez-Cubas.

On Tuesday, Haley’s campaign also disseminated a slew of links to articles from 2018, when Trump signaled openness to raising the federal gas tax. In her 2024 presidential campaign, Haley has proposed ending the federal gas tax.

A New Hampshire poll conducted in November by CNN and the University of New Hampshire found that Haley was in second place — well behind Trump, but slightly ahead of fellow candidates including Christie and DeSantis.


Associated Press writer Jill Colvin contributed from New York.


Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP

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