Nikki Haley

Haley in 2013, photo by Gage Skidmore

Birth Name: Nimrata Nikki Randhawa

Place of Birth: Bamberg, South Carolina, U.S.

Date of Birth: January 20, 1972

Ethnicity: Punjabi Indian

Nikki Haley is an American politician, diplomat, businessperson, and author. A Republican, she has served as Governor of South Carolina, from January 12, 2011 to January 24, 2017, and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., from January 27, 2017 to December 31, 2018, as well as a Member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, from January 11, 2005 to January 11, 2011. She was treasurer and president of the National Association of Women Business Owners, and was the first Indian-American member of the U.S. Cabinet.

She was a candidate for the Republican Party’s nomination for President of the United States in 2024.

Nikki was born in Bamberg, South Carolina, the daughter of father Ajit Singh Randhawa and mother Raj Kaur Randhawa. Her parents are Indian emigrants, with roots in Pandori Ran Singh, Tarn Taran District, Punjab. Her father is a college professor, and her mother was a teacher, who started a clothing boutique, Exotica International. The name Nikki means “Little One” in Punjabi.

Nikki is married to Michael Haley, a commissioned officer in the South Carolina Army National Guard. The couple has two children. Michael was adopted as a small child from the foster care system, taking on his adoptive parents’ surname Haley. Nikki was born a Sikh, and is now a practicing Methodist, her husband’s religion. The couple married in both Methodist and Sikh ceremonies. Pictures of Nikki with her husband, children, and mother, can be seen here.

During Nikki’s 2024 presidential run, she won 2 primaries. She is the first woman to have won a presidential nominating contest for the Republican Party, and the first Asian-American to have won any party’s; with her win in the Washington, D.C. primary. Nikki is one of several Asian-Americans to have mounted a notable campaign for a major political party’s nomination for President of the United States. The others were/are:
*Hiram Fong (who sought the 1964 and 1968 Republican nominations; Fong was of Chinese descent)
*Patsy Mink (who sought the 1972 Democratic nomination; Mink was of Japanese descent)
*Bobby Jindal (who sought the 2016 Republican nomination; Jindal is of Indian descent)
*Andrew Yang (who sought the 2020 Democratic nomination; Yang’s parents are Taiwanese)
*Kamala Harris (who sought the 2020 Democratic nomination; Harris’ mother was a Tamil Indian)
*Vivek Ramaswamy (who sought the 2024 Republican nomination; Ramaswamy is of Tamil Indian descent)

Kamala Harris began serving as Vice President of the United States in 2021.

Nikki is one of five people who were at least partly raised in the Hindu faith, or a Hindu-related faith, to have run for a major party’s presidential nomination. Bobby Jindal, Tulsi Gabbard, who also sought the Democratic Party’s 2020 nomination; Kamala Harris, and Vivek Ramaswamy, are the others. Of the five, only Tulsi and Vivek identify as Hindu presently.

Margaret Chase Smith was the first woman to launch a notable campaign for a major political party’s presidential nomination, in 1964, for the Republican Party. Geraldine Ferraro was the first woman to have been nominated for Vice President of the United States by a major party, the Democratic Party, in 1984, and Hillary Clinton is the first woman to have been nominated for the Presidency by a major party, the Democratic Party, in 2016. Shirley Chisholm won three non-traditional nominating contests in 1972, for the Democratic Party; Hillary Clinton and Nikki Haley have since been the only women to have won a major party’s presidential nominating contest, with Clinton winning 23 in 2008 and 34 in 2016, for the Democratic Party. Kamala Harris is the first woman to serve as either President or Vice President of the United States.



Curious about ethnicity

48 Responses

  1. Manila says:

    She resigned as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

  2. Wolfman says:

    I agree that her name and appearance is misleading, but she’s pure Punjabi Jat Sikh with many of our clans tracing their origins to Afghanistan/Central Asia. Plus, she doesn’t look British, but could pass as Middle Eastern or a Southern European Med.

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