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Nikki Haley said after the Iowa Caucuses that it was a “two-person race” now. She was ridiculed because she finished third, though at the time the speech was written she was still projected to finish second. Nonetheless, she may be right.
Reports and rumors are flying around social media after the campaign site of Ron DeSantis scrubbed all future events. The campaign also canceled scheduled interviews on corporate media for Sunday.
Even staunch supporters like former Trump attorney Jenna Ellis are concerned:
DeSantis just cancelled his Sunday show appearances.
Suspension of his campaign seems imminent.
It’s a real tragedy.
— Jenna Ellis (@JennaEllisEsq) January 21, 2024
Donald Trump reacted to rumors as one would expect:
— George Balfour-Kinnear (@balfourUK) January 21, 2024
As rumors go, this one seems pretty credible. One does not normally cancel campaign appearances two days before a primary unless they’re throwing in the towel.
Reports are coming in from corporate media outlets that insiders believe DeSantis is looking for the “off ramp.” According to Daily Mail:
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Ron DeSantis is seeking an ‘off-ramp’ from his 2024 campaign, according to reports, following a disappointing performance in Iowa – buoyed by the promise from Trump supporters to back him in 2028.
The Florida governor spent most of his resources in Iowa, only to finish 30 points behind Trump. He has largely ignored New Hampshire, which votes on Tuesday – and could see Nikki Haley defeat Trump.
Instead, he has been trying to revive his candidacy with an eye toward the February 24 South Carolina GOP primary, which is Haley’s home state.
DeSantis’s efforts were dealt a further blow on Friday night by former presidential contender Tim Scott – a senator for South Carolina – endorsing Trump.
The New York Times suggested that DeSantis is seeking an ‘off ramp’ from his campaign.
Timing is everything. If DeSantis announces his departure from the race before New Hampshire, it will have an impact despite his poor polling in the state. Some polls are showing that it’s somewhat tight between Trump and Haley (though you should never trust polls) while others show Trump leading by as many as 30 points.
It’s hard to tell who would benefit the most from an early DeSantis exit before New Hampshire. In most states his supporters would migrate to Trump but in New Hampshire there is a strict divide between Trump supporters and “NeverTrumpers.” It’s possible that Haley could pick up votes from those who were supporting DeSantis as the best non-Trump.
We’ll watch this closely and will update the story when more is known.