Nikki Haley, 51, who is a former South Carolina governor and United Nations ambassador, has announced she is running for President against Trump in 2024.
She is the second major Republican candidate to run – her ex-boss, Donald Trump, who launched his bid in November.
Haley made the announcement in a video posted online on Tuesday, describing herself as the ‘proud daughter’ of Indian immigrants who grew up in the US south.
‘Republicans have lost the popular vote in seven out of the last eight presidential elections, that has to change,’ she said in the announcement.
In the video, Haley made passing reference to her time as the top envoy to the UN under Trump, during which she spearheaded Trump’s combative ‘America First’ approach to international politics.
In another video, Nikki Haley said: ‘Now is not the time to hold back. Now is the time for a strong and proud America,’ she tweeted, linking to a campaign video.
The third Indian American said in 2021 that she wouldn’t challenge Mr Trump for the White House, but she changed her position in recent months, citing the need for ‘generational change’.
The former governor has previously criticised Mr Trump’s behaviour up to and during the 6 January 2021 attack on the US Capitol by his supporters.
The day after the riot, she said in a speech that ‘his actions since election day will be judged harshly by history’.
According to BBC, most early polls show Mr Trump with a comfortable lead in South Carolina, whose primary he won on his way to the presidency in 2016 – an indication of the uphill battle the former ambassador will have, even on what should be friendly ground.
A recent survey by the polling firm Trafalgar Group that included current and likely candidates has Mr Trump in first place with 43% and Ms Haley in fourth at 12%.
But another opinion poll released on Tuesday suggested Mr Trump’s once-resilient political strength could be softening among members of his party.
Forty per cent of registered Republicans said he should not run for the White House in 2024, according to the Reuters/Ipsos survey, even as he remained the favourite among the party’s field of potential candidates.
The same poll found that 52% of registered Democrats do not support Mr Biden running for re-election.
In the US, presidents are elected through the electoral college system, and not the popular vote.