On Saturday, Haley and Scott will reconvene in Charleston ahead of a potential 2024 clash, joining other current and potential GOP presidential candidates for a public forum organized by the Palmetto Family Council, a conservative Christian group. The event will showcase the contenders’ pitches for an important constituency in an important early-primary state.
It would also bring together two South Carolina Republicans who have worked together and could end up fighting for a similar 2024 lane — though Scott’s plans are not yet clear. Republicans in the Palmetto State insist that whoever joins will be a tough competition for South Carolina voters.
absolutely possible for [Donald] Trump or Ron DeSantis to win in South Carolina, even with a senator or former governor here on the ballot,” said Alex Stroman, a former executive director of the state GOP. He expected to do well Keeping candidates must first “prove” themselves with strong showings in New Hampshire or Iowa, which Haley and Scott recently visited.
Lots of 2024 contenders have flocked to South Carolina and welcomed its evangelical leaders. Other speakers at Saturday’s “Vision ’24” forum include the GOP’s declared presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, an entrepreneur and author who has focused his campaign on “awareness” protests, and former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson. , who is weighing a 2024 bid and has called on his party to forcefully back Donald Trump.
The former president, who launched his 2024 campaign last fall, is not attending, and neither is Florida Governor DeSantis. likely to run, There will be many others making 2024 runs, such as former Vice President Mike Pence absent. Pence has built deep ties to the evangelical community and given his first public speech After leaving office at a dinner hosted by the Palmetto Family Council, a nonprofit that advocates for the policy.
At the Vision ’24 Forum, Sen. Lindsay O. Graham (RS.C.), John Kennedy (R-La.), and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) as well as former Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii. Joe ran for president in 2020 as a Democrat but left the party last year.
Participants could choose whether to speak from the podium or take moderator questions from the couch, or both, and Ramaswamy chose to take questions from the audience, said a spokeswoman for the Palmetto Family Council.
People who know Haley and Scott describe their relationship as friendly and note that they have worked together extensively over the years — including in 2015 when a white supremacist killed nine people at a historically black church in Charleston Was.
Haley was governor; Scott began his political career serving on the Charleston County Council. And he later served in Congress before Haley was appointed in 2012 to replace Sen. Jim DeMint. Haley soon signed legislation to remove the Confederate flag from the grounds of the South Carolina State House, a controversial and nationally watched decision that Scott also supported.
Rob Godfrey, Haley’s spokesman at the time, said both Scott and Haley were “willing to have uncomfortable conversations in places Republicans don’t traditionally go and feel comfortable talking.”
Stroman, who has worked with both Haley and Scott in the state party and has not endorsed either for 2024, saw a difference in what they brought to the table: Haley, he said, has served in an executive role. , while Scott has a legislative background. He said Haley is taking advantage of being the first Republican to officially join the race against Trump.
“Voters in South Carolina know Nikki Haley,” said Stroman, who attended his launch event in Charleston. As voters in Iowa and New Hampshire also know her, he said, “She’s going to be a force to be reckoned with.”
Meanwhile, Scott has kept his plans under wraps while spending time in the early primary states. He already has significant financial resources that he can draw on for a presidential bid, with more than $20 million in his Senate campaign account late last year and $13 million in a super PAC that includes extensive funding from Oracle founder Larry Ellison. There was funding.
In South Carolina, where Haley and Scott have overlapping donors, some Republicans are already taking sides.
South Carolina businessman Mickey Johnson said, “Scott is a political mover and shaker who tries to help people find a middle ground, and I think that’s what this country needs more than anything right now. ” Serves as Vice President of a non-profit organization he founded.
When Haley called him seeking support for his bid for the presidency, he said he would “wait to see which way Tim goes.”
Another donor who would support Scott if he runs, Chad Waldorf, said he’s expecting “the negative tone in the Republican Party lately to be largely gone” and that most Republicans feel that “a polarizing message hasn’t served us well.”
But many GOP voters have applauded the aggressive attacks on the political left, and Scott has struck a belligerent Tone Recently in Iowa.
“One question the Republican Party and America has to answer is, are we willing to support someone who is actually a good, nice person? … Politics is a fast-paced endeavor where the best people are not always first are,” Waldorf said.