In recent days, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has increasingly been seen as a potential challenger to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in the Republican primary for the presidential nomination in 2021.
Such a move would send sparks flying in the GOP, where many view DeSantis as President Donald Trump’s top ally and potential replacement on the Republican ticket in the next election.
Haley, who served as South Carolina governor before taking up her UN post in 2017, is viewed in some conservative circles as a leading voice in Republican politics and more willing than DeSantis to address some of the party’s diversity issues. Further stoking speculation about her prospects is rumored friction between Haley and Trump over his handling of the initial Covid-19 crisis and idea to re-open the US economy before the health crisis had been brought more safely under control.
Many in the GOP have seen Haley as a potential Trump successor for some time. But her potential candidacy could heighten divisions in the Republican base, between those fully behind Trump and those who view Haley as an alternative based on her gender and less hardline stance on key issues.
The coming months will likely see Republican voters and donors faced with a difficult decision: to back Trump’s chosen successor or to back Haley and her potential policies. Regardless of the outcome, it’s clear that a challenge from Haley would ignite real sparks in the Republican Party.