After months of lackluster focus on Iowa and New Hampshire, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis took his campaign to South Carolina, whose early primary has become increasingly important in recent years.
Last month, DeSantis’s wife stood in for him during a scheduled campaign stop that he had to cancel due to Hurricane Idalia.
He takes on two native South Carolinians in the bid for the GOP nomination, former Gov. Nikki Haley and Sen. Tim Scott, not to mention former President Donald Trump in the State of Florida, who looms large in the background.
Trump dominates that GOP field by over 40 points despite four indictments and losing battles in two major lawsuits.
Ron DeSantis Sags in S.C., N.H. Polling
In South Carolina, Trump leads with 47.8 percent compared with 15.3 percent for Haley, and 11.3 percent for DeSantis.
“We continue to see Trump’s dominance for the nomination in South Carolina. While a distant second, support for Nikki Haley has grown. Haley’s rise coincides with the continued slide of Ron DeSantis with his drop in national polls being mirrored in South Carolina,” Winthrop poll director Scott Huffmon said.
DeSantis has lost about half of his support in South Carolina since June when he had 24 percent support in the Palmetto State. Haley and Trump each have gained seven points in the polls since June.
He also has lost support in New Hampshire. His preaching about wokeness and abortion cost him among more liberal Republicans in the Granite State, which has resulted in his candidacy going from 26 percent support to 6 percent support among that demographic.
The Florida governor’s campaign hopes to make up for lost ground with his appearance in the state.
“We look forward to building on this grassroots momentum in the weeks and months to come,” DeSantis campaign spokesman Andrew Romeo told CNN.
DeSantis Not Giving Up
DeSantis’s campaign claimed it raised $15 million in the quarter ending on September 30. Only $5 million is supposed to be spent during the primary. DeSantis plans to move about one-third of his staff to Iowa.
The pro-DeSantis Never Back Down PAC has been active in New Hampshire.
New Hampshire House Majority Leader Jason Osbourne told CNN that he backs DeSantis and does not worry about the gap between him and Trump.
“He’s the only candidate with a day job and the only one who has to fundraise because he’s focused on a full, to-the-end campaign. Meanwhile, the single state-focused people aren’t doing that right now,” Osborne said.
DeSantis also hopes to visit all 99 counties of Iowa in a bid to lock down support for that state’s caucuses in January.
“We’re going to a lot of places that are more rural, that a lot, pretty much every other candidate is going to ignore,” DeSantis said. “Those are things that I think that, you know, may not necessarily wrap up, show a big difference overnight in a poll or something.”
DeSantis Looking Toward 2028
As the campaign enters the homestretch it looks increasingly like DeSantis’s early missteps are coming back to haunt him. He probably is thinking ahead to 2028 when he can look back at his failures in 2024 just like Ronald Reagan did when he lost to Gerald Ford in 1976.
Trump might not be the current incumbent, but he’s the closest thing to an incumbent in the GOP race. DeSantis has his upcoming debate with California Gov. Gavin Newsom to look forward to as he looks to move beyond Trump.
John Rossomando is a defense and counterterrorism analyst and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting.
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