Indian-origin Republican leader Nikki Haley formally launched her 2024 presidential bid on Wednesday. The former GOP governor made the announcement in Charleston, casting herself as a new chapter in American politics. She is the two-term Governor of South Carolina and the former US Ambassador to the United Nations.
Addressing her supporters at an event, she declared, as quoted by The Hindu: “For a strong America… For a proud America… I am running for President of the United States of America!”.
With this historic announcement, Haley becomes the second woman of color to seek the Republican nomination. Angel Joy Chavis Rocker, a school counsellor from Florida, who entered the 2000 presidential race, was the first. Haley was born Nimrata Nikki Randhawa to Punjabi Sikh parents who emigrated from India in the 1960s. She grew up in a Sikh household, later converting to Christianity.
Haley’s presidential bid is leading up to many historical moments in US politics. If President Joe Biden announces a second run, it is likely that Vice President Kamala Harris will be his running mate. So it’s possible that both major political parties in America could simultaneously have women, specifically of Indian descent, on their ticket.
She is the third Indian-American to run for the US presidency in three consecutive election cycles. Bobby Jindal ran in 2016 and Kamala Harris in 2020.
Promoting a younger, more diverse generation of politicians was a central message in Haley’s speech on Wednesday. At 51, she is a much younger candidate as compared to her political peers, with Biden at 80 and Trump at 76.
Before entering the presidential ballot, Haley has to win the Republican Party’s presidential primary which will start in January next year. She will be competing with Donald Trump, her former boss who currently leads the race for the Republican nomination. The next US presidential election will be held on November 5, 2024.