Soon after Nikki Haley said she’d vote for Trump, Biden campaign met with her supporters

Soon after former GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley announced Wednesday she would vote for former President Donald Trump this November, the Biden campaign held a virtual meeting with her supporters on that very evening.  

Several Haley supporters, including some of her former state leadership team and members of the “Women for Nikki” coalition, joined the call from across the country. The meeting was arranged by Robert Schwartz, the executive director of the anti-Trump Haley Voters Working Group. 

The deputy political director of the Biden campaign, Juan Peñalosa, joined the call to stress how important the Haley coalition’s support would be to defeating Trump and addressed the differences Haley supporters have with Mr. Biden, according to Schwartz. He said that while some of Haley’s voters might be open to voting for the president, there are strong policy disagreements.

“A lot of them have not said that they’re going to vote for Joe Biden; a lot of them are actually considering writing in Nikki Haley,” Schwartz said. “There’s a wide range of views, but it’s certainly not preaching to the converted.” 

Although she dropped her presidential bid in March, Haley has still managed to attract hundreds of thousands of votes across several Republican primaries, including in key swing states.

In Pennsylvania’s Republican primary in April, over 157,000 voted for Haley, representing roughly 16% of the total share of vote. In Wisconsin, also in April, Haley finished with almost 13% of the GOP primary vote, close to 77,000. Mr. Biden, who has been trailing Trump in recent polling in these states, won both in 2020, but his margin of victory was very slim — about 21,000 in Wisconsin, and around 82,000 in Pennsylvania. 

Schwartz says he shared a list of issues that are priorities for Haley supporters with the Biden campaign, like supporting Israel and addressing the crisis at the U.S. southern border. He added that he’s been working with Biden’s reelection team to gather information about what it was about Haley that appealed to these Republican voters and what messages would be likely to resonate with them. 

After Haley announced she’d vote for Trump, one former Haley volunteer, Alissa Baker, who’s a member of the working group said she remains opposed to Trump. 

“As a private citizen, she has to make the same choices that we do,” Baker said. “She gave her reason, and I respect that. I also respect that she isn’t endorsing or telling her supporters how to vote. It doesn’t change my thinking on how I will vote in November at this point.”

In an email Thursday, the Biden campaign said of its collaboration with Haley Voters Working Group, “While Donald Trump continues to attack moderate Republican and independent voters, the Biden campaign is investing to talk to these voters and working to earn their support.”

Aaron Navarro contributed to this story. 

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