Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended his campaign for the Republican nomination for president on Sunday, saying in a video posted on X that he didn’t see “a clear path to victory” in light of his poor showing in the Iowa caucuses, and endorsed Donald Trump in the election.
“Nobody worked harder, and we left it all out on the field. 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,” DeSantis said.
“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,” he said.
Of the former president, whose endorsement of him in 2018 helped propel DeSantis into the Florida Governor’s Mansion but whom he has criticized while campaigning over the past eight months, the governor said he was bowing to the will of most Republican voters.
“They watched his presidency get stymied by relentless resistance and they see Democrats using lawfare this day to attack him. While I have disagreements with Donald Trump, including on the coronavirus pandemic and his elevation of Anthony Fauci, Trump is superior to the current incumbent, Joe Biden. That is clear,” DeSantis said.
He noted that he had signed a pledge to support the party’s eventual 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 repacked form of warmed-over corporatism that Nikki Haley represents.”
Despite an all-out campaign in Iowa, including stops in each of its 99 counties, DeSantis finished on caucus night with a disappointing 21.2% of the vote, nearly 30 points behind Trump. Haley, a former South Carolina governor and U.N. ambassador during the Trump administration, finished in third place with 19.1%.
Sunday’s announcement came two days before the New Hampshire GOP primary, where Trump was leading with 48.9% support, with Haley second with 34.2% and DeSantis trailing with 5.2%, according to the FiveThirtyEight polling average on Sunday.
Haley, speaking at a campaign event in New Hampshire, said she wished DeSantis well and noted the Republican presidential primary is now just her and Trump.
“There were 14 people in this race. There were a lot of fellas. All the fellas are out, except for this one,” she said, according to a video posted to X, formerly known as Twitter. “And this comes down to what do you want: Do you want more of the same or do you want something new?”
Montana Republican Sen. Steve Daines, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, posted on social media that all GOP lawmakers should line up behind Trump.
“Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee,” Daines wrote. “I am encouraging every Republican to unite behind him because it will take all of us to defeat Joe Biden, take back the Senate, and hold the House.”
Virginia Rep. Bob Good, chairman of the U.S. House Freedom Caucus, posted on social media that he’s now supporting Trump for president.
“It is my privilege to provide my complete and total endorsement for Donald J. Trump as the 47th President of the United States,” Good wrote. “President Trump was the greatest President of my lifetime, and we need him to reinstate the policies that were working so well for America.”
–Michael Moline, Florida Phoenix, and its Washington, D.C., bureau