Nikki Haley’s campaign officials said Monday that she raised $16.5 million in January, her biggest monthly fundraising total yet, adding a new infusion of cash to the $14.6 million her campaign brought in in the new year as would continue the fight for the nomination with Donald J. Trump is going.
Polls have shown Ms. Haley, a former South Carolina governor, has made little progress in closing the gap with the former president, either in her home state, which holds its Republican primary on Feb. 24, or nationally.
But a flurry of fundraising and national publicity, including a surprise appearance on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” dampened chatter that she might soon withdraw from the race. Her announced fundraising numbers in January, which included $11.7 million through digital and direct mail and 69,274 new donors, signaled a desire for her not to back down.
“We will have the resources to go the distance,” Betsy Ankeny, Ms. Haley’s campaign manager, told reporters Monday morning. “We will continue to fight as long as we have the momentum and the resources to do so.”
Ms. Ankeny freely acknowledged that Ms. Haley faced strong odds, but argued that she had outperformed the public vote in the New Hampshire primary two weeks ago. Since then, Ms. Haley has stormed through South Carolina, while Mr. Trump has yet to hold a public event in the state since New Hampshire.
“This is a race to be the leader of the free world,” Ms. Ankeny said. “It should be hard.”
Ms. Ankeny argued that if Mr. Trump wins the nomination, public attention will shift to his liabilities, particularly the four criminal cases pending against him, his penchant for outbursts and the deep hatred many voters have for the former president.
Regardless of current polls, “we’ve seen this movie before,” she said, pointing to Republican losses of the House in 2018 and the White House and Senate in 2020.
“Republicans are going to lose” the rematch between Mr. Trump and President Biden in November, she predicted.