Former leading Republican contender Ron DeSantis has officially ended his bid for the presidency, throwing his weight behind former President Donald Trump.
DeSantis’s decision, announced in a video message, follows his second-place finish in the Iowa caucuses and a realization that he lacked a clear path to victory.
Despite months of wavering support, DeSantis remained a prominent figure in the race, often seen as a rising star within the Republican Party.
However, after his Iowa defeat, the Florida Governor acknowledged the prevailing sentiment among Republican primary voters, stating, “It’s clear to me that a majority of Republican primary voters want to give Donald Trump another chance.”
DeSantis highlighted his differences with Trump, particularly regarding the handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Nevertheless, he firmly endorsed the former president, emphasizing the need to avoid returning to what he referred to as the “old Republican guard” or the “warmed-over corporatism” represented by low-polling candidate Nikki Haley.
Donald Trump, who secured a resounding victory in Iowa with 51 percent of Republican voters, now faces only Nikki Haley as a potential contender for the party’s nomination in the upcoming November presidential election. With polls indicating a significant lead for Trump in New Hampshire, where DeSantis trailed behind, the former president is poised to strengthen his position in the race.
DeSantis, a former naval officer, had initially gained prominence in 2018 when he was elected governor of Florida with the endorsement of Trump. However, his campaign struggled to gain traction against the formidable presence of the former president, who currently holds a commanding position in the polls.
Known for his hard-right stances on education, immigration, and LGBTQ issues, DeSantis consistently engaged in cultural battles against what he termed “woke” politicians, businesses, and professors.
His controversial initiatives, including allowing concealed carry without a permit and implementing strict abortion laws in Florida, garnered national attention.
As the focus shifts to the New Hampshire primary, Nikki Haley, now the primary alternative to Trump, refrains from direct attacks but questions the former president’s mental acuity.
At an event in Seabrook, New Hampshire, she acknowledged DeSantis’s contribution to the race but emphasized that the choice comes down to “what do you want,” framing the decision as a choice between continuity and something new.
The political landscape now narrows to a two-person race, with Trump and Haley emerging as the central figures in the Republican quest for the presidency. The outcome of the New Hampshire primary is anticipated to further solidify Trump’s position as a formidable force within the party.