When it comes to running a successful presidential campaign, having a well-funded political action committee is essential. However, the latest Federal Election Commission records reveal that former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley’s PAC, SFA Fund Inc, entered the election year with just $3.5 million in cash. This relatively small sum raises new questions about whether Haley will be able to finance a viable presidential primary campaign over the coming months.
According to the latest report from SFA Fund Inc covering the period from July 1 through December 31, 2023, the committee raised just over $50 million. This might sound like a significant amount, but the PAC spent nearly $63 million to back Haley during the same period. Furthermore, the PAC started July with around $17 million but finished with a meager $3.5 million war chest. These potentially worrisome numbers cast doubt on Haley’s ability to compete in upcoming primary states.
Lack of Donor Confidence
Haley’s recent defeat in the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, both at the hands of front-runner former President Donald Trump, has raised doubts among some of her wealthiest donors. The outcome of these early contests has led them to reevaluate whether or not to continue supporting Haley’s campaign financially. With the next major primary taking place in Haley’s home state on February 24, time is running out for the former South Carolina governor to rally support and close the significant gap between her and Trump in the polls.
Real Clear Politics polling averages currently show Haley trailing Trump by approximately 30 percentage points in South Carolina. This indicates a significant challenge for her campaign to overcome in the coming weeks. While it is not impossible for a candidate to stage a comeback and secure a victory despite lagging behind in the polls, it will require substantial financial resources to mount an effective advertising campaign and mobilize voters.
The revelation that SFA Fund Inc spent $14 million on advertisements backing Haley since January 1 poses several questions. Given the PAC’s low cash reserves, it is unclear how they were able to afford such a significant expenditure. According to data from the tracking firm AdImpact, only $200,000 of the $14 million was spent on TV ads airing in South Carolina, Haley’s home state. This raises concerns about the effectiveness of her campaign’s advertising strategy and the allocation of funds.
SFA Fund Inc claims that the additional $10.5 million spent on advertisements in January came from robust fundraising efforts during that month. However, the PAC has not disclosed the total amount raised in January or provided information about their top donors. This lack of transparency raises suspicions about the source and legitimacy of the funds.
The fundraising success of SFA Fund Inc in the fall of last year can be attributed to its big money donors. For example, Ken Griffin, the CEO of Citadel, donated $5 million to the super PAC in December. However, there is confusion surrounding a recent announcement by Griffin’s spokesman that he also donated $5 million to the PAC in January. It remains unclear whether these are separate donations or if there has been a miscommunication regarding the timing of the contribution. Another prominent donor, Ken Langone, co-founder of Home Depot, gave just over $500,000, while David Tepper, owner of the Carolina Panthers, contributed more than $1 million. The reliance on big money donors raises concerns about the influence they may have on Haley’s campaign and potential conflicts of interest.
Nikki Haley’s political action committee, SFA Fund Inc, is facing significant challenges due to its relatively low cash reserves and mounting campaign expenses. The lack of financial resources raises doubts about Haley’s ability to compete effectively in the upcoming primaries, especially in her home state of South Carolina. The questions surrounding the PAC’s expenditure and fundraising efforts further complicate the situation, with concerns about transparency and reliance on large contributions. As the campaign moves forward, Haley will need to address these issues and find a way to mobilize support both financially and politically if she hopes to secure the nomination for the presidency.