Former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley is ranked second behind former President Donald Trump in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina for the GOP nomination. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

So far, the 2024 presidential race has seen GOP candidates unsuccessfully vying to knock out former president Donald Trump, who continues to dominate despite no-shows at numerous debates. But this week, the race became a lot more interesting after the Koch brothers, famous for their financial and political influence, revealed which team they’re on.

The political network Americans for Prosperity Action, founded by Charles and David Koch, announced Tuesday that it will endorse former UN ambassador Nikki Haley.

The super PAC, which has spent nearly $9 million on anti-Trump material to date, has polled nearly nearly 6 million voters since February – finding that 75 percent of Republican primary voters are open to supporting a candidate other than Trump. When it came time to back a candidate, the group approached the decision with a “business-like” mindset, its senior adviser Emily Seidel wrote in a memo

“When we set out to change the broken politics of Washington, we made clear that we would back a candidate who could turn the page on today’s toxic culture and lead our country forward,” Seidel wrote. “Our internal polling confirms what our activists are hearing and seeing from voters in the early primary states: Nikki Haley is in the best position to defeat Donald Trump in the primaries.”

Haley, the first Republican to challenge Trump for the nomination, spent the early stages of her campaign trailing behind Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, whom many believed to be the only viable opponent of Trump. However, DeSantis’ allure is proving to have a short shelf-life, as Haley’s strong debate performances have pushed her ahead of DeSantis in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. The Koch group, which has raised more than $70 million for political races, believes that its endorsement will help propel Haley ahead of Trump in the next seven weeks leading up to the first caucus.  

“With the largest grassroots operation in the country and a presence in all fifty states, 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,” Seidel wrote.

The Koch network endorsement – as well as a new wave of support from former financial backers of Sen. Tim Scott – could tip the scale for other GOP donors who have had their eyes on Haley. Billionaire hedge fund founder Ken Griffin, who had previously announced plans to support DeSantis, told Bloomberg News this month that he’s “actively contemplating” backing Haley. 

Haley is expected to join the fourth Republican debate on Dec. 6 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.