Haley attended Clemson, majoring in accounting before joining a waste management company, then her family’s clothing business. She entered the South Carolina House of Representatives in 2004, primarying the longest-sitting representative in the South Carolina House.
Haley would credit Hilary Clinton for the inspiration to run. Her time in the South Carolina General Assembly saw her take on the position of the majority whip (a whip is the party official tasked to keep party members in line) in the House, an uncommon position for a freshmen member.
Haley was a loner in the House who did not get along with any party in the legislature. A Democratic Representative described her as “a caucus of one” when she was in the House. Haley’s stances in the House aligned with the Republican platform, like school choice, lower taxes (despite voting to raise the sales tax in the state), and anti-abortion.
Haley ran for Governor after six years in the General Assembly. She would win the primary after receiving help from former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin, propelling her from last place. Haley would defeat the Democrat to win the governorship.
She focused primarily on the economy and would way in on the Confederate Flag debate, supporting flying the Confederate flag outside the statehouse. She would change her stance, calling for it to be removed after the Charleston Church Shooting.
Haley rejected a bill that would require transgender people to use the restroom associated with their birth gender. However, her time in office is not remembered for policy and improvements to the state rather beef with the legislature.
Hugh Leatherman, the Senate Finance Chairman and veteran Republican, would refer to Haley’s term as a “dead duck” because Haley’s support for a primary challenger. Haley would accept the job of United States Ambassador to the United Nations in 2017, ending her term as Governor early. She would leave that position just a year later.
Haley is a standard conservative on many issues. She has adopted the current anti-LGBTQ stance of the Republican party. Haley said during a Town Hall, “How are we supposed to get our girls used to the fact that biological boys are in their locker rooms? And then we wonder why a third of our teenage girls seriously contemplated suicide last year,” implying a link between trans girls using girls’ locker rooms to suicidal thoughts in girls.
She is anti-gay marriage, defending her right to ban it as governor. Haley backed the Parental Rights in Education law or the “Don’t Say Gay” law. She would criticize the law because it did not go far enough.
The only separation from other Republican candidates is her stance on the outgoing Russia-Ukraine war. Haley believes that the United States should support Ukraine until they defeat Russia, an issue that Republican voters are split on. 48% believe the United States should not interfere with the war.
Haley’s campaign has remained steady at 3-4% in the polls since she announced her candidacy. Haley has been attacking Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis for their lack of answers on the Russia-Ukraine war.
Her campaign has received enough donors to make it to the debate stage in August. Haley is looking to be the first female President and the first President of South Asian descent.