The billionaire Koch family’s libertarian policy advocacy group “Americans for Prosperity Action” has said that it is pulling back its financial backing of GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley.

Following the former South Carolina governor’s performance in her home state’s primary on Saturday, in which she trailed former President Donald Trump, the Republican frontrunner, by about 20 percent of the vote, Americans For Prosperity (AFP) CEO Emily Seidel said on Sunday that the group’s policy arm had decided it was time to “take stock” of its campaign spending.

President Trump received 47 of South Carolina’s delegates, while Ms. Haley got three.

In a memo to staff (pdf), Ms. Seidel said that while AFP Action “stands firm” behind their endorsement for Nikki Haley, it’s time to “take stock of where we are and—as we always do—make sure we’re optimizing our resources for maximum impact towards our goals.”

She said the group would now turn its attention to competitive Senate and House races “where we can make the difference,” in a tacit acknowledgement of President Trump’s commanding support among a majority of voters in the primary. President Trump’s performance on Feb. 24 broke records for the most votes of any presidential candidate for any party in a South Carolina presidential primary.

Ms. Seidel added, “given the challenges in the primary states ahead, we don’t believe any outside group can make a material difference to widen her path to victory.”

She praised Ms. Haley as a “special leader with conviction, resolve, and steel in her spine to jump into a tough race with a narrow path,” and wished her well, saying that the PAC would continue to “wholeheartedly support” her efforts in her run for president.

“Americans deserve a choice for president who brings out the best in our country and who can deliver bold solutions to big challenges,” the memo read.

AFP last week was criticized by Vivek Ramaswamy, a former GOP candidate who has since pulled out of the race citing clear support for former President Trump in the early GOP primaries, who questioned why AFP Action was backing Ms. Haley and opposing President Trump.

“I think it’s very disappointing that that network has thrown its support behind a candidate who does not even stand for the principles that they claim to embody,” he told The Epoch Times at the time.

Mr. Ramaswamy had noted that AFP staffers had left the PAC for the pro-DeSantis PAC “Never Back Down” over the decision.

He lauded Chris Maidment, one such staffer who was fired from by AFP over comments he made in response to the Haley endorsement.

“Nikki Haley is totally sideways on [AFP]’s foreign policy stance. She’s anti-free speech,” Mr. Maidment wrote on X on Dec. 1, 2023, in a thread distancing himself from the endorsement.

Despite her loss, Ms. Haley has vowed to press on with her campaign trail toward Super Tuesday on March 5 despite having no readily apparent pathway to victory.

“I’m not giving up this fight when a majority of Americans disapprove of Donald Trump and Joe Biden,” Ms. Haley said in downtown Charleston after the race was called for President Trump.

Ms. Haley trails the former president by 61 percentage points in national polling. Her campaign, has in large part, been fueled with cash from anti-Trump billionaires, according to federal disclosures.
Nathan Worcester and Lawrence Wilson contributed to this report.

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