Ron DeSantis shifts his campaign away from New Hampshire days before the state’s Primary

DeSantis AP
The strategic shift by DeSantis underscores his weakness in the 2024 Republican nomination race.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has decided to shift his presidential campaign away from New Hampshire just six days before the state’s first-in-the-nation Republican Primary, a move that reflects his narrowing path to the 2024 GOP nomination.

DeSantis will instead reallocate the majority of his staff to South Carolina, the home state of rival Nikki Haley, with its Primary in just over a month.

The moves were confirmed by a senior campaign official speaking to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to share internal strategy. CBS first reported the news.

The strategic shift by DeSantis underscores his weakness in the 2024 Republican nomination race after he finished a distant second to front-runner Donald Trump in Iowa’s caucuses Monday. DeSantis had made Iowa the centerpiece of his White House bid, yet Trump bested him by 30 percentage points there. Haley finished 2 percentage points behind DeSantis.

CNN/University of New Hampshire poll conducted this month suggested that Haley could be approaching Trump’s top spot in the state. About 4 in 10 likely Republican Primary voters in New Hampshire choose Trump, while about one-third picked Haley.

Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung said in response to the Governor’s shift, “DeSantis is still running?”

Haley’s campaign greeted the news with a dig, too.

“South Carolina is a great state,” Haley spokesperson Olivia Perez-Cubas said in a statement to the AP. “We hope they enjoy their vacation time here.”

Trump, meanwhile, spent much of Wednesday in a New York courtroom, where a judge threatened to expel him from his Manhattan civil trial. He repeatedly ignored a warning to keep quiet while writer E. Jean Carroll testified that he shattered her reputation after she accused him of sexual abuse. The jury already found that Trump sexually abused Carroll in the 1990s and then defamed her in 2022.

The former President was set to finish the day at a rally along New Hampshire’s coast.

DeSantis sidestepped a voter’s question about his own lack of attention on New Hampshire as the candidate campaigned in the state Wednesday. He was set to return to Florida later in the day before making stops in South Carolina over the weekend.

DeSantis, when asked about his New Hampshire plans, said of Haley, “I think her credibility is shot.”

It was unclear whether DeSantis would return to New Hampshire at all before the Tuesday Primary.

By shifting toward South Carolina, DeSantis’ team is trying to take advantage of Haley’s perceived weakness in her home state, where Trump appears to have a significant advantage over both of them. Yet DeSantis’ allies believe that Haley will be forced to drop out of the race altogether if she loses South Carolina’s Feb. 24 Primary, giving DeSantis an opportunity to reemerge as a viable Trump alternative heading into the series of Primary contests on March 5 known as Super Tuesday.

It’s a risky strategy at best.

Haley is campaigning in New Hampshire this week, but she’s taking a cautious approach.

She has been limiting questions from voters and reporters for several weeks. She declined to participate in either New Hampshire debate scheduled over the next week unless Trump agreed to be there. He did not, and both debates were canceled.

DeSantis made no mention of his strategic shift when he held his first post-Iowa caucus event Wednesday in Hampton, a coastal town where the beach bars and souvenir shops were buried under piles of plowed snow.

Tom O’Keefe, a retired engineer from nearby Nottingham, said he was a past Trump voter but felt like the Florida Governor or Haley, a former U.N. Ambassador, might offer a better chance of beating Democratic President Joe Biden in November.

O’Keefe said DeSantis has not invested as much time in New Hampshire as he did in Iowa, which complicates his chances of winning here with less than a week to go.

“I wish he really could, but I don’t feel like he has it, and he doesn’t have much time,” O’Keefe said about DeSantis’ pulling off a New Hampshire upset. “I’m saying a prayer that he will.”


Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Associated Press


  • Earl Pitts "Sage Political Expert Emeritas" American

    January 17, 2024 at 7:12 pm

    Good evening America,
    The Ronald decided to go on down to SC and win over the Sage Citizens there befor James Clybern can drag his sorry @zz there and work his slave owner voodoo, like he did prior to the last election, on the Sage Black Voters who are planning their Republican support due to Bidens epic fail.
    Clybern has no Voodoo powers outside South Carolina anyway so Ron’s logic is indeed Sage, very Sage.
    And further more 75% of the good citizens of New Hampshire are a little off mentally and have already glommed on to Nikki Haley. And they have a funny accent to their speach too.
    So again as you all know, from being members of Earl Pitts American’s Fan Club, Trump is going to bow out 2 weeks prior to election day (per our Sage Agreement) and 96.37% of Former Trump voters will rush the polls to vote for Ron and The Beautiful Casey DeSantis.
    So that pretty much covers the Sage Facts of Ron’s Sage Decision to go down to SC…. yet, America, still there seems to be something missing ….. maybe it’s the Sage “Earl” sign-off everyones been waiting for …. wait for it ….. wait for it …. “America, “Yes” its time to “Relax Our Sage Sphincters”.
    Earl Pitts American

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  • Michael K

    January 18, 2024 at 12:15 am

    If Rhonda had any self awareness, they would realize they are sinking fast. That’s the problem with magical thinking that some deity has anointed you to run. Think of all the pain he had caused good people in his fruitless quest for power, may he feel the pain of defeat.

Comments are closed.


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