Haley Becomes the First to Challenge Trump

Nikki Haley announces her presidential run in Charleston, South Carolina, on Wednesday. (Photo by Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

CHARLESTON, South Carolina—Nikki Haley entered the presidential race Wednesday with all the glitz and glamor of a formidable frontrunner. Yet even among the supporters at her rally, the underdog Republican is clouded by concerns that she lacks the ability to execute a 2024 campaign worthy of her opening act. 

Haley packed an airy, indoor-outdoor venue in charming downtown Charleston with an overflow crowd of roughly 2,000 energetic supporters—encouraging turnout for a late workday morning rally that bled into the early afternoon. The space was adorned with patriotic bunting on the walls, a large American flag overhead and a huge “Nikki Haley for President” sign in red, white and blue in the background—flanked by the South Carolina flag.

The loudspeakers belted out inspirational rock ‘n’ roll staples without missing a beat; the political press corps, from around the state and around the country, numbered by the dozen; and an audience, largely homegrown but also from out of state, was chock full of Haley campaign swag. Some wore HaleyT-shirts and baseball caps, others waved Haley campaign placards; some did both. Most stayed until the end of an hourlong program capped by Haley’s sharp, approximately 25-minute speech.

Most came away satisfied.

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