Ken Langone arrives at the Allen & Co. Media and Technology Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, on Wednesday, July 12, 2023.
David A. Grogan | CNBC
Home Depot co-founder and billionaire Ken Langone plans to meet with former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley next week in New York, as he considers backing her in the Republican presidential primary.
“The only person I see who can give [Donald] Trump a run for his money is Nikki Haley,” Langone told CNBC in an interview Monday, referring to the former president and current Republican frontrunner.
Langone declined to give the date of the meeting, but the former South Carolina governor is scheduled to be in New York on Dec. 4, for a fundraising event co-hosted by attorney Eric Levine.
Before Langone would commit to hosting his own fundraiser for Haley, however, he said he wanted to meet with her in person.
A spokesperson for the Haley campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Langone’s interest in backing Haley over his previous first choice, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, has been growing for several months. He began to sour on DeSantis after the Florida governor signed a six-week abortion ban bill in April, he told CNBC.
“I think he’s come across too hardass,” Langone said of DeSantis’ position on abortion.
Langone said he supported Haley’s stance on abortion, which is that individual states should decide the issue. Earlier this month, Haley said that if the South Carolina state legislature had passed a six-week abortion ban while she was governor, she would have signed it.
Langone has contributed to both Haley and DeSantis, but Langone’s most recent donation to one of them was to the Florida governor this summer, according to Federal Election Commission records.
If Langone were to switch teams, and help Haley raise money, he would join a growing list of Republican financiers who are aligning themselves with Haley.
In recent weeks, Haley has gained momentum and increasingly appears to be solidifying a position as the strongest alternative to Trump.
In the key early state of New Hampshire, Haley’s standing has risen 4 points in the past month, placing her in second, according to the Real Clear Politics polling average.
Trump still leads the GOP field in the Granite State, but his 27 point advantage there is about half of what his average lead is nationwide.
Langone has a net worth of just over $7 billion, according to Forbes. He told CNBC he is friends with Stanley Druckenmiller, another one of Haley’s new Wall Street supporters. Druckenmiller formerly backed Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., who dropped out of the Republican primary race earlier this month.
Haley’s campaign appears to be relying on a strong showing in her home state of South Carolina, and banking on a potential endorsement from New Hampshire Republican Gov. Chris Sununu.
Haley will spend the first half of this week in South Carolina and New Hampshire, where Sununu has signaled he is close to making an endorsement in the primary.
Sununu has said publicly that he will not support Trump, but with the state’s primary less than two months away, there is growing speculation about a potential Haley endorsement from Sununu.