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Trump super PAC launches ad against Haley as she rises in New Hampshire

A super PAC supporting former president Donald Trump is launching television ads in New Hampshire targeting Republican rival and former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley, whose campaign has gained momentum in the Granite State, host of the first GOP primary.

The ad, funded by Make America Great Again Inc., focuses on Haley’s position on taxes, attempting to hammer her for changing her stance on a gas tax while serving as governor of South Carolina. The ad shows footage of Haley saying in 2013 that she would never support raising the gas tax, and then again in 2015, saying, “Let’s increase the gas tax by 10 cents.”

“New Hampshire can’t afford Nikki ‘High Tax’ Haley,” a narrator in the 30-second spot concludes.

While the ad targets a major concern for conservative voters, tax increases, it’s based on a misleading claim that’s been frequently used by GOP campaigns this cycle — that Haley as governor of South Carolina supported a gas-tax hike.

Haley opposed a stand-alone gas tax increase as governor. In 2015, she proposed raising the gas tax only if the state reduced income tax rates from 7 percent to 5 percent. The plan, her campaign pointed out on Tuesday, died in the state legislature and gas taxes were not increased during her time in office.

Haley’s campaign in a statement asserted that the pro-Trump PAC was repeating “debunked lies.”

“Two days ago, Donald Trump denied Nikki Haley’s surge. Now, Trump is running false, negative ads against Haley. It looks like Donald Trump is getting nervous,” the campaign said in a press release.

The New Hampshire primaries are a month away, and the ad is set to run through Sunday across two CBS stations operating in the region, WBZ and WSBK, according to advertising purchase contract documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission. NBC News first reported on the ad’s existence.

On the campaign trail, Haley has vowed to cut income taxes and “completely eliminate the federal gas and diesel tax.”

The campaign also pointed out that Trump once supported a 25-cent gas tax increase. In 2018, Trump pitched fellow Republicans on the idea of a gas tax increase to fund his infrastructure plan. The pitch was rejected by anti-tax conservatives.

Karoline Leavitt, a spokeswoman for Make America Great Again Inc., confirmed the ad buy, tweeting on Tuesday that the PAC “remains committed to exposing the career politicians who are undeserving of the Republican nomination.”

“We won’t let another tax-and-spend politician try to fool the voters,” Leavitt added.

The PAC’s videos this election cycle have largely been focused on showcasing Trump’s record as well as targeting President Biden and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — another rival in the GOP presidential primary race. The focus on Haley comes as her campaign has seen an uptick in support ahead of the start of the GOP primary season this winter, particularly in New Hampshire.

A recent CBS News poll showed that though Trump is still leading in New Hampshire, Haley came in second place. The poll, conducted Dec. 8-15, showed that 44 percent of likely GOP primary voters in the state chose Trump as their top candidate. Haley came in second, with 29 percent, while DeSantis came in third place at 11 percent.

Haley has also secured a number of high-level endorsements for her presidential campaign, including a recent endorsement by New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R).

This post appeared first on The Washington Post

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