Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has officially withdrawn from the 2024 presidential race, having fallen short of surpassing Former President Donald Trump in polls.
DeSantis announced his decision through a social media post on Sunday, January 21st, just two days before the New Hampshire primary.
The Florida governor said, “If there was anything I could do to produce a favorable outcome — more campaign stops, more interviews — I would do it, but I can’t ask our supporters to volunteer their time and donate their resources if we don’t have a clear path to victory.”
With DeSantis stepping down, the race now boils down to a head-to-head battle between Trump and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley. In Iowa, where DeSantis came in second with 21%, Haley finished third, far behind Trump’s 51%.
Despite previous criticisms, DeSantis surprisingly endorsed Trump on Sunday.
“It’s clear to me that a majority of Republican primary voters want to give Donald Trump another chance,” he acknowledged.
DeSantis added, “While I’ve had disagreements with Donald Trump, such as on the coronavirus pandemic and his elevation of [COVID-19 adviser] Anthony Fauci, Trump is superior to the current incumbent, Joe Biden. That is clear.”
“I signed a pledge to support the Republican nominee, and I will honor that pledge,” he continued.
DeSantis also criticized Haley’s approach, stating, “We can’t go back to the old Republican Guard of yesteryear, a repackaged form of warmed-over corporatism that Nikki Haley represents.”
Trump, in response to DeSantis’s exit, stated at a rally in Rochester, New Hampshire, “I’d like to take a moment to congratulate Ron DeSantis, and of course, a truly exceptional individual I’ve had the privilege of getting to know, his wife Casey, for running a remarkable presidential campaign.”
The former president added, “He did. He ran a really good campaign.”
He also mentioned his eagerness to collaborate with DeSantis and others to defeat Biden.
Despite securing second place at the Iowa caucuses on January 15th, where he narrowly outperformed Haley, DeSantis has significantly lagged behind his rivals in New Hampshire.
As per a CNN/University poll conducted between January 16th and 19th, DeSantis had a 6% polling rate in New Hampshire, while Trump led with 50%, and Haley followed closely with 39%.
At the beginning of 2023, DeSantis was seen by many as the most likely Republican alternative for the presidential nomination to former President Trump. His reelection victory as Florida’s governor in 2022 as well as several laws passed, including the Parental Rights in Education bill, had significantly raised his profile.