Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) had aspirations to secure the Republican presidential candidacy. Despite coming in second in the Iowa caucus, he chose to bypass the New Hampshire primary and proceeded to South Carolina. This move sparked speculation about his potential withdrawal from the presidential race. Confirming these speculations, on January 21, he officially ended his campaign.
DeSantis declared the suspension of his presidential campaign on the Sunday following the Iowa caucus. Through an online video, the governor conveyed his decision to conclude the campaign and pledged his support to Trump. He asserted that the former president surpasses the current officeholder, President Joe Biden, in his endorsement.
DeSantis affirmed that he committed to supporting the GOP nominee by signing a pledge, and he is determined to uphold that commitment. Additionally, he expressed his backing for Trump, emphasizing the necessity for the party to move away from the traditional Republican establishment.
While the endorsement might have caught some off guard, it was anticipated. The ex-president undeniably enjoys the backing of the Republican base. Furthermore, it’s worth noting that DeSantis made a commitment to the Republican National Committee in August 2023, assuring them that he would support the party’s chosen candidate at the conclusion of the primary season.
Later that day, the ex-president commented on DeSantis’ exit during a campaign event in Rochester, New Hampshire. Trump commended his competitor for a job well done, praised his graciousness, and expressed eagerness to collaborate with the Florida governor, addressing the crowd accordingly.
Numerous op-ed pieces analyzing the downfall of DeSantis’ campaign have emerged. The reality is, a definitive explanation for its failure remains elusive. Nevertheless, certain indications suggest that the campaign faced challenges from the very beginning.
In December 2022, DeSantis was ahead of former President Donald Trump in straw polls, prompting speculation that he might assume a leadership role within the GOP, potentially succeeding the 45th POTUS. However, the momentum seemed to dissipate as DeSantis undertook visits to foreign countries and pursued the most conservative agenda in Florida’s history. Meanwhile, the former president actively engaged in campaigning.
The governor, despite being ahead of Trump in the polls, chose not to declare his candidacy. Instead, he decided to announce his intention to run for the Republican nomination in May 2023, a period during which the former president had been actively campaigning for several months.
As reported by The Tampa Bay Times, various issues plagued the campaign, ranging from DeSantis trying to position himself to the right of Trump to his strategy of allocating the majority of resources to Iowa. Additionally, his reluctance to critique the former president and a lack of a distinct campaign message were identified as challenges.
In the end, the governor’s endeavors did not make a significant impact. When he opted to exit the primary race, his position relative to the former President remained unchanged. Currently, he still has three years remaining in his second term as governor.