Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has withdrawn from the 2024 presidential race, endorsing Donald Trump instead.
Before the New Hampshire Republican primary, he decided to leave the race, where his support was in the low percentage range.
Initially seen as a strong candidate for the party’s nomination, Mr. DeSantis announced on Sunday that he saw no viable path to victory.
Nikki Haley, now the sole remaining opponent of Mr. Trump, expressed confidence in being the only candidate capable of defeating current President Joe Biden.
On Tuesday, Ms. Haley and Mr. Trump will compete in New Hampshire, the second in a series of state-level contests to select the Republican nominee for the November general election.
In a video approximately five minutes long, posted on X on Sunday afternoon, Mr. DeSantis stated he had given his all to the campaign.
“If there was anything I could do to produce a favorable outcome – more campaign stops, more interviews – I would do it,” he added, as he concluded his seven-month-long campaign.
Governor DeSantis endorsed Mr. Trump, acknowledging his leading position after securing 51% of the votes in the Iowa contest. He recognized the preference of the majority of Republican voters to give Donald Trump another opportunity.
Despite differences with the former president, Mr. DeSantis praised him as a better choice compared to Mr. Biden, the likely Democratic nominee for the November election.
“I signed a pledge to support the Republican nominee, and I will honor that pledge,” Mr. DeSantis said.
The room in New Hampshire, filled with supporters, erupted in loud cheers when Mr. Trump first spoke about Mr. DeSantis’s decision to withdraw and his endorsement on Sunday afternoon.
Later, while speaking to a crowd at a rally, Mr. Trump complimented his former rival as a “really terrific person,” noting: “He conducted a really good campaign, which is no small feat.”
Mr. DeSantis had positioned himself as the Republican hopeful capable of advancing Mr. Trump’s populist policies without the controversy or excess baggage.
However, during the event, Florida Representative Matt Gaetz humorously labeled him as “diet Trump.”
Additionally, several of Mr. Trump’s supporters expressed their fondness for the Florida governor but believed it wasn’t the right time for his candidacy.