CHARLESTON, S.C. — Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and United Nations ambassador, officially entered the race for president on Tuesday, a well hinted-at move that is likely to leave her the lone formal Republican challenger to former President Donald J. Trump for many weeks, if not months, as other potential 2024 rivals bide their time.
By announcing early, Ms. Haley, 51, who called for “generational change” in her party, seized an opportunity for a head start on fund-raising and to command a closer look from potential Republican primary voters, whose support she needs if she is to rise from low single digits in early polls of the G.O.P. field.
She made the announcement in a video, vowing to take on adversaries both foreign and domestic.“Some people look at America and see vulnerability. The socialist left sees an opportunity to rewrite history. China and Russia are on the march. They all think we can be bullied, kicked around,” Ms. Haley said. “You should know this about me: I don’t put up with bullies. And when you kick back, it hurts them more if you’re wearing heels.”
Ms. Haley’s campaign has drawn encouragement from many polls showing that in a hypothetical multicandidate field, Mr. Trump wins less than 50 percent of Republican voters. Her entry into the race underscores how the former president has failed to scare off rivals in his third presidential campaign.
Ms. Haley is best known on the national stage for pursuing Mr. Trump’s foreign policy agenda for two years at the U.N.. As she seeks a broader following, Ms.
Haley plans to lean into cultural issues, denouncing Democrats for pushing “socialism” in government and “wokeism” in schools, while citing her own biography as the daughter of Indian immigrants who rose to be South Carolina’s first female governor, and first nonwhite governor, as a rebuke of leftist claims that America harbors “systemic racism.”