Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) has unexpectedly withdrawn from the Republican presidential primary race on Sunday, concluding a campaign that once positioned him as a strong contender against former President Donald Trump.
In a surprising turn, DeSantis also extended his endorsement to Trump through a video message. DeSantis had emerged as a significant alternative to Trump, especially after his resounding re-election as Florida’s governor last year, a victory that stood out amidst the mixed results for other Republicans nationwide, including those backed by Trump.
DeSantis kicked off his presidential campaign in May, backed by experienced GOP campaign staff and a well-supported super PAC. However, his campaign struggled to gain momentum against Trump, his former political ally. Early setbacks included technical issues during the Twitter Spaces launch event and criticisms of DeSantis’s campaign style, with some describing him as awkward.
Despite finishing second in the Iowa caucuses, DeSantis trailed significantly behind Trump, securing only 21 percent of the vote compared to Trump’s 51 percent. His prospects in New Hampshire also appeared dim, with Nikki Haley, former U.N. Ambassador, emerging as a more formidable opponent to Trump in the state.