Nikki Haley insists that she will stay in the Republican primary race and fight to win her home state in a month. Will she have to go it alone in South Carolina? In the last 24 hours, two of Haley’s billionaire donors have decided to bail on Haley’s campaign — and it’s tough to choose which is the more surprising.
Yesterday afternoon, big-ticket GOP donor Andy Sabin told Neil Cavuto that Haley needs to take a lesson from … Kenny Rogers. Is she an Island In the Stream? No, not that song, but Cavuto thinks it’s too early to fold ’em:
GOP donor Andy Sabin to Neil: It’s time for Nikki Haley to walk away pic.twitter.com/2HKZsSvm2X
— Neil Cavuto (@TeamCavuto) January 24, 2024
Billionaire metal magnate Andy Sabin urged Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley to “walk away” from the 2024 White House race on Wednesday, arguing that she would be better served saving her remaining campaign funds for a 2028 presidential run.
Sabin, a Haley donor who has contributed more than $1.7 million to Republican campaigns in the last three election cycles, told Fox Business host Neil Cavuto that he would be “the first person to write her a check for president in 2028” but for now she should heed the guidance of the late country singer Kenny Rogers.
“You have to know when to hold them. You got to know when to fold them. You got to know when to walk away. It’s time for Nikki Haley to walk away,” the Sabin Metal Corporation chairman said, referencing Roger’s hit song, “The Gambler.”
Cavuto argues that Haley’s still only a handful of delegates behind Trump and that she can still score big wins later in the process. That’s true, but there’s literally no evidence that Haley will. Trump became the first Republican to win both Iowa and New Hampshire as a non-incumbent president, and he won majorities in both states. Trump not only leads in polling for South Carolina, he is dominating there as well, with a clear majority of Republican voters. In national polling, his RCP average lead over Haley is 66.4/11.3; even if she consolidates the rest of the field, Trump will beat her 2:1. Only Reuters has him below 50% — and he was still 37 points ahead of Haley in that survey.
Could that change? Sure, but it hasn’t since last summer, despite all of the money poured into the Haley and DeSantis campaigns. The last question was whether Republican voters really wanted Trump or would change their minds at the decision points of casting ballots and caucusing. We got the answer in Iowa and New Hampshire, and since the polls aren’t changing, Sabin can read the writing on the wall — even though he wanted to push the GOP into choosing new leadership.
He’s not alone, either, although we’ll come back to Sabin again. Haley lost another deep-pocket donor yesterday too, and this one may be more surprising. Reid Hoffman is a billionaire donor to progressive causes, but especially loves to fund projects that target Trump. The LinkedIn founder made waves last year when it got revealed that he bankrolled the E. Jean Carroll lawsuits against Trump. Hoffman reportedly spent $100 million in 2020 to ensure Trump’s defeat, and not necessarily in ways that made Democrat moderates happy.
So it says something that Hoffman has decided not to up his $250,000 investment in Haley as Trump’s opponent, as CNBC reported yesterday:
Billionaire Reid Hoffman does not plan to give any more money to Nikki Haley’s presidential campaign after her loss in the New Hampshire Republican primary, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Hoffman is one of Haley’s first wealthy donors to start heading for the exit after she said Tuesday that she will remain in the GOP’s nomination contests against former President Donald Trump despite failing to beat him in New Hampshire or in the Iowa caucuses. …
Hoffman, a LinkedIn co-founder who has for years mainly financed causes in line with the Democratic Party, gave $250,000 to a pro-Haley super PAC last year, according to The New York Times.
Hoffman said in December that while he is a supporter of President Joe Biden, he believed that Haley had the best chance at beating Trump in the Republican primary contest.
Apparently Hoffman knows when to fold ’em. If Haley had any chance to stop Trump’s nomination, Hoffman would keep the checks flowing to Team Haley. He’s spent the last few years pulling out every legal stop to end Trump’s political career. Does anyone think Hoffman would hesitate to kick in another $250K if there was any chance of success in that strategy now?
Instead, Hoffman will just spend his money on Biden and Democrats. Sabin’s new post-Haley strategy is also instructive. Later, he tells Cavuto where his money will go now:
Sabin, who backed Trump in 2020, told The Post last year that he “wouldn’t give him a f—ing nickel” for his 2024 campaign.
However, he now says, “As long as [Trump’s] the Republican nominee, I’m going to support him.”
The voters and the money are lining up now, as I predicted yesterday. Haley will return home to South Carolina, but she’ll find it a lonely place.