Koch-Backed Group Predicts Independents Will Boost Haley’s Bid

(Bloomberg) -- Nikki Haley’s New Hampshire ambitions depend on high turnout among undeclared voters and former Democrats, strengthening her argument that she can grow the Republican party and win the presidency in November, according to a political strategist supporting her campaign.

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“For Haley, she obviously needs big turnout,” Greg Moore, a senior advisor for Americans for Prosperity Action — the super political action committee supporting Haley, told Bloomberg News in an interview in Manchester, New Hampshire on Sunday.

Moore, who is running the New Hampshire operation for the super PAC, which is backed by billionaire Charles Koch of Koch Industries Inc., said the state’s presidential primaries have much higher turnout than the Iowa caucuses, which GOP frontrunner Donald Trump won in a landslide last week.

“What that means is that you have an electorate that is much more representative of the general electorate as a consequence,” he said. “Her ability to pull from that in a purple state demonstrates the strength that she has in a general election.”

Moore projects a record-smashing turnout of more than 330,000 voters on Tuesday. There were only 267,768 registered Republicans in New Hampshire as of Friday. Undeclared voters would make up the gap.

He predicted more undeclared voters would opt for a Republican ballot citing the lack of a competitive Democratic primary, where President Joe Biden is a write-in candidate and does not face a serious challenger from his party.

“That’s like 40% of the registered voters are going to come out and vote in a Republican primary. And that’s just a bonkers number if you think about it,” Moore said. “That’s the sort of thing that makes New Hampshire different. The thing about that group is that they tend to be very swingy and they tend to decide late.”

Former President Trump is already questioning the legitimacy of Haley’s strength in the state, falsely claiming that Democrats can vote in the Republican primary. While an undeclared voter can choose either party’s ballot in a primary, Democrats would have had to renounce their party affiliation by Oct. 7 in order to participate.

Haley, Trump’s former UN ambassador, has emerged as his biggest competitor, in particular after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis dropped out of the race Sunday. She still trails the former president by 15 percentage points, according to a RealClearPolitics average of polls.

Read more: Koch Machine Pushes Its Case for Nikki Haley, Door by Door

Moore said AFP would continue to support Haley in South Carolina on Feb. 24 and is already “softening the ground” in Super Tuesday states on March 5 that will collectively decide 36% of the delegates to the Republican National Convention.

AFP has spent more than $3 million on canvassing in New Hampshire and $9.6 million on advertising in early-voting states. The group says it has a total advertising budget of $26 million in addition to its grassroots organizing operation.

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