After Ron DeSantis Exits Presidential Primary, Nikki Haley Is The Last Woman Standing
Just before noon on Sunday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Florida) posted a video to X (formerly Twitter) in which he announced the suspension of his campaign for president. A moment observers had been anticipating for weeks.
DeSantis began his campaign as a Republican heavyweight and was considered one of the few candidates who would be able to stand up against the political steamroller that is Donald Trump and the MAGA movement.
DeSantis, who remains Florida’s governor through 2027 due to a state election reform bill he passed in 2023 that allowed current officeholders to seek election to another position, was hoping to bring his right-wing agenda to the national stage, including banning Critical Race Theory (CRT) in public schools and eliminating funding for hiring diversity programs.
But the Iowa caucuses, like it’s done so many times before, put the kibosh on another once-promising candidate’s hopes for the presidency.
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DeSantis came in second, which isn’t necessarily a campaign killer. Trump himself placed second to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in Iowa in 2016. But DeSantis’ was not a close second. DeSantis was only able to garner 21% of the vote, barely topping third-place candidate, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley.
Since DeSantis announced he was running for president in May 2023, he has found himself squarely in Trump’s crosshairs. Trump has mocked his name, his eating habits and his platform shoes. He quickly labeled DeSantis with one of his patented schoolyard monikers, referring to the governor as “Ron DeSanctimonious.”
Despite the personal attacks, in DeSantis’ concession speech, he endorsed the former president, saying, “It’s clear a majority of Republican primary voters want to give Donald Trump another chance.”
A familiar reason for withdrawal we’ve heard from other Republican candidates that Trump has left by the wayside this election cycle.
He says he’ll honor his “pledge to support the Republican nominee,” but is quick to point out that he and Trump have had their differences, then only offered coronavirus policy as an example, which he seems to think Trump handled too delicately.
He took the opportunity to further justify his endorsement by firing a shot at the last candidate who has a chance at challenging Trump’s nomination. DeSantis said Trump winning the nomination is important because we cannot “go back to the old Republican guard of yesteryear. A re-packaging form of warmed-over corporatism that Nikki Haley represents.”
Since DeSantis’ concession, an interview has been released that was recorded the week prior. Although still officially in the race at the time, it has the tone of a man who senses the end is near. When asked why the GOP won’t move on from Trump, he gave two examples that could be construed as excuses. “You saw the increase in his support when he had the indictment, and every subsequent indictment seems to get a little more support . . . it’s a clear correlation,” DeSantis said.
Then the Florida governor took a shot at the media, saying, “he’s got a phalanx of favorable media. Any center-right leaning media has really rallied behind him.” He went on to admit his own mistakes in relying too heavily on conservative media. “I should have just been blanketing, I should have gone on all the corporate shows, I should have gone on everything,” he told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.
DeSantis ended his concession video with the type of faux pas he could not escape on the campaign trail that many believe contributed to the rapid decline of his political stock, a quote from Winston Churchill that the great British leader never said.
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