Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley poses for photos after a Republican presidential debate in Miami on Nov. 8. Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post

The powerful political network led by conservative billionaire Charles Koch endorsed Nikki Haley for president on Tuesday, as it looks to stop Donald Trump from being the Republican nominee.

Americans for Prosperity Action, the network’s flagship political group, announced the group’s first endorsement in a presidential race.

“AFP Action is proud to throw our full support behind Nikki Haley, who offers America the opportunity to turn the page on the current political era, to win the Republican primary and defeat Joe Biden next November,” Emily Seidel, the senior adviser of the group, wrote in a memo. “Haley will have the full weight and scope of AFP Action’s unmatched grassroots army and resources to help her earn the support of Americans to become the next President of the United States of America.”

The endorsement comes as Haley, the former U.N. Ambassador and governor of South Carolina, has gained momentum in the Republican primary, and has in many ways surpassed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as the top alternative to Trump. But the former president holds a commanding lead over the field.

The group also weighed backing DeSantis before deciding to support Haley and its decision is another blow to the Florida governor, who has been struggling to gain traction in recent months.

“Every dollar spent on Nikki Haley’s candidacy should be reported as an in-kind to the Trump campaign. No one has a stronger record of beating the establishment than Ron DeSantis, and this time will be no different,” DeSantis spokesman Andrew Romeo said in a statement.


Haley will now have access to the network’s influential donors and organizational heft.

“AFP Action’s members know that there is too much at stake in this election to sit on the sidelines. This is a choice between freedom and socialism, individual liberty and big government, fiscal responsibility and spiraling debt. We have a country to save, and I’m grateful to have AFP Action by our side,” Haley said in a statement.

AFP promised to employ its “the largest grassroots operation in the country and a presence in all fifty states,” in support of Haley.

“AFP Action’s endorsement will put thousands of AFP Action activists and grassroots leaders into the field – with a focus on the early primary states – knocking on doors and urging voters to support Nikki Haley,” the memo said. “Additionally, in the coming days, we’ll launch extensive mail, digital, and connected television campaigns to supplement those on-the-ground efforts.”

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