Ron DeSantis is out of the presidential race and is endorsing Donald Trump.
In a video released Sunday, the Republican candidate suspended his campaign, after a distant second place finish in Iowa, an expected even more distant third place in the Granite State, and an uncertain path for delegates ahead.
“Now, following our second place finish in Iowa, we’ve prayed and deliberated on the way forward. 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 accordingly. I am today suspending my campaign.”
The Governor’s exit makes the GOP contest a two-person race between Nikki Haley and Trump, who DeSantis endorsed without reservation.
“Now, it’s clear to me that a majority of Republican Primary voters want to give Donald Trump another chance. They watched his presidency get stymied by relentless resistance and they see Democrats using lawfare to this day to attack him.”
“While I’ve had disagreements with Donald Trump, such as on the coronavirus pandemic and his elevation of Anthony Fauci, Trump is superior to the current incumbent Joe Biden,” DeSantis said.
“I signed a pledge to support the Republican nominee and I will honor that pledge. He has my endorsement because we can’t go back to the old Republican Guard of yesteryear: A repackaged form of warmed over corporatism that Nikki Haley represents. The days of putting Americans last of kowtowing to large corporations of caving to woke ideology are over.”
DeSantis also derided former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, long his closest rival for second place in the primary race, saying Republicans “can’t go back to the old Republican guard of yesteryear, a repackaged form of warmed-over corporatism that Nikki Haley represents.”
DeSantis’ effective exit from the race comes after a cycle that launched with great hype that went underfulfilled.
The Florida Governor’s glitch-filled kickoff on Twitter Spaces with Elon Musk, an alternative to a more conventional launch at a baseball field in DeSantis’ hometown of Dunedin, was a metaphor for a campaign that arrayed more than $82 million of seed money transferred to his super PAC from his former state PAC, an effort that promised a 50-state strategy to clear the field, but did not count on the enduring popularity of the former President.
In the subsequent weeks and months, DeSantis struggled to connect with voters on a personal level under the unforgiving bright lights of the presidential stage.
The Governor embarked on a strategy to get endorsements from state legislators in early states, such as Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, and visited many of these places, finding connections between their conservative governance and that enjoyed in Florida. But despite heavy spending and lots of travel, he didn’t get traction in polls.
By the end of July, DeSantis had laid off nearly 40 employees in a move designed to cut roughly one-third of his campaign payroll. The cuts came shortly after public filings revealed that he was burning through his substantial campaign coffers at an unsustainable rate.
He expressed regrets in recent weeks, suggesting that Trump’s legal issues derailed the race, and saying recently he should have done more “corporate media.”
There will be plenty of time for him to figure out what went wrong, but for now, the Governor will return to the job he was elected to perform.
The Associated Press contributed to this post. Republished with permission.