Mike Pence hires top Nikki Haley staffer as rivalry intensifies

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Mike Pence hires top Nikki Haley staffer as rivalry intensifies

Mike Pence has hired one of Nikki Haley’s top advisors as the two former Trump administration colleagues consider joining their former boss and wading into the 2024 presidential election fray.  

Tim Chapman, the former executive director of Haley’s Stand for America political nonprofit, is leaving the former South Carolina governor’s organization to become a senior adviser to the former vice president’s Advancing American Freedom political nonprofit. 

“I am grateful for my time working with Nikki Haley and her dedicated team,” Chapman said in a statement obtained by Politico. “Advancing American Freedom is one of the fastest growing and increasingly influential conservative groups in the nation, and I am thrilled to join the incredible team that is building AAF as a leader for common sense conservative policies that will help restore America.”

Pence said on Friday that he is “thrilled” to have Chapman come aboard. 

“Tim Chapman is one of the brightest stars in the conservative movement, and we are so thrilled he’s joining the team to advance the cause of American culture, American opportunity, and American leadership,” Pence said in a statement.

Mike Pence
Mike Pence hired Tim Chapman, a former Nikki Haley staffer.
AP

The move comes a day after Haley, the former US ambassador to the United Nations, hinted during an interview with Fox News’ Brett Baier that she’s getting close to announcing her intentions to launch a 2024 presidential campaign. 

“So, do I think I could be that leader? Yes. But we are still working through things, and we will figure it out. I have never lost a race. I said that then. I still say that now. I’m not going to lose now. But stay tuned,” Haley told Baier on Thursday. 

“We’re leaning in. We are leaning in, in a big way,” she added. 

Chapman’s defection from Haley’s camp also comes a day after the Guardian published an excerpt from former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s new book in which he accused Haley of scheming with Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump to oust Pence and become Trump’s No. 2.

Nikki Haley
Nikki Haley hinted that, like Pence, she is considering a run for president.
FOX News

“As best [former White House chief of staff John] Kelly could tel​l, ​they were presenting a possible ‘Haley for vice-president’ option,” Pompeo writes.

Haley denied the accusation on Thursday and characterized it as “gossip.”

Last month, Pence appeared to indicate that he would only consider running for president rather than the open Senate seat in his home state.

“I think if we were ever to step forward to serve the American people that would be to take all the experience that we’ve had and run for national office,” the 63-year-old told Fox News.

“But I’m always humbled to be asked,” he added. “You know, somebody asked me the other day if I ever thought about running for president, and I said, ‘No more or no less than any other kid that grew up with a cornfield in his backyard.’” 

Mike Pence and Nikki Haley
A Yahoo News/YouGov poll released in December found Haley and Pence tied in terms of 2024 presidential support.
AFP via Getty Images

He also hinted during an interview with ABC News in November that he was considering a 2024 White House run and he would discuss the possibility with his family over the holidays. 

It’s unclear what role Chapman would play in a potential 2024 Pence presidential campaign.

A Yahoo News/YouGov poll released in December found Haley and Pence tied in terms of 2024 presidential support, with each favored by 5% of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents. 

The same poll found Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis leading all Republicans with 47% support and former President Donald Trump in second place with 42% support. 

So far, Trump, 76, is the only declared 2024 GOP presidential candidate. 

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