A super PAC aiming to convince independent voters to back former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley in the Republican presidential primary has dropped $500,000 on video ads less than a week before the New Hampshire primary election on Jan. 23.
The PAC, called Independents Moving the Needle, was formed in late-November by self-styled political independents to swing tens of thousands of undeclared voters who can choose to participate in the Republican or Democratic primaries next week. Unlike Iowa, where registered GOP voters caucus at a set time, New Hampshire holds a day-long open primary.
Haley, who finished a distant third in the Iowa caucus on Jan. 15, is in a much stronger position going into New Hampshire.
Even so, Trump maintains a formidable lead. A Jan. 16 Saint Anselm College poll of likely voters found Haley 14 points behind the former president.
Independents Moving the Needle, launched on Nov. 29, missed the fourth quarter filing deadline and won’t need to disclose donors until Jan. 31. But it has spent relatively little on the election thus far — about $1.2 million as of Jan. 17, according to independent expenditure reports. Its half-million dollar ad buy on Jan. 16 is its largest expenditure to date.
Still, the group joins a growing list of pro-Haley super PACs that can raise and spend unlimited sums of money on the presidential race. In November, Haley secured the endorsement of Americans for Prosperity Action, a deep-pocketed political group backed by entities connected to billionaire Charles Koch, that has spent nearly $29.4 million supporting her campaign.
Pro-Haley groups have spent more than $74.6 million supporting the former diplomat and $35.3 million attacking her Republican rivals, as of Jan. 17. No other GOP candidate — including Trump — has benefited from as much outside spending.
Haley’s support among wealthy donors has kept her competitive, even as Trump remains the clear frontrunner for the GOP nomination.
ABC News reports that Independents Moving the Needle is led by five relative outsiders to money in politics — Jonathan Bush, the cousin of former President George W. Bush and CEO of a healthcare data company; Frank and Tamra Laukien, who lead companies in life sciences; Bonnie Anderson, CEO of a private cancer-testing company; and Robert Fisher, a white-collar attorney and former federal prosecutor.
FEC filings show Bush has donated $6,300 to Haley this cycle, while Frank Laukien has made individual donations totaling about $3,000 to Haley’s current and former rivals, including DeSantis, Sen. Tim Scott and Vivek Ramaswamy. Scott, Ramaswamy and DeSantis have all dropped out of the race.