U.S. Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis has ended his presidential campaign.
The U.S. politician stood down on the eve of the New Hampshire primary after his highly anticipated campaign failed to gain traction.
Taking to X, formally Twitter, he posted a video with the Winston Churchill quote: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that count.”
DeSantis, 45, endorsed Trump in the video, adding: ‘We don’t have a clear path to victory. Consequently, I am suspending my campaign today.
“I’m proud to have delivered 100 per cent of my promises and will not stop now.
“It’s clear to me that a majority of Republican primary voters want to give Donald Trump another chance.
“They watch his presidency get stymied by relentless resistance, and they see democrats using law fair to this day to attack him.
“I’ve had disagreements with Donald Trump, but he is superior to the incumbent Joe Biden.”
This move will come as welcome news to Donald Trump, who viewed Ron DeSantis as an apparent challenge to the Republican presidency.
DeSantis had been widely seen as a top contender for the 2024 Republican nomination and a natural heir to Trump due to his combative style and deeply conservative views.
Early in 2023, he led several head-to-head polls against Trump.
But the Florida governor’s support has been declining for several months due to flawed campaign strategy, his seeming lack of ease with voters on the campaign trail and Trump’s so far unshakeable hold on much of the party’s base.
The end of DeSantis’ bid means that former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, is now the last Republican in the race with a long shot of denying Trump the nomination. The winner of the Republican nominating contest will take on President Joe Biden, the likely Democratic nominee, in the general election in November.
More than 70 per cent of Republicans have a favourable opinion of Trump, according to most opinion polls. That put DeSantis in a position where he had to appeal to voters who still admired Trump and those who passionately disliked him.
DeSantis failed on both counts. He never successfully articulated to most Trump supporters why he was a better option, while Republicans looking to ditch the former president split their votes among multiple candidates.
In particular, Haley hasemerged as the favourite among moderate Republicans as the field has consolidated. Where DeSantis differed from Trump on policy, it was almost always to stake out a more conservative position. He signed a six-week abortion ban in Florida in April, which he eventually embraced on the campaign trail, even as it made some donors and moderate Republicans wary.
DeSantis opposed additional U.S. military assistance to Ukraine. They took punitive actions against the Walt Disney Co. after the company spoke out against Florida legislation that limited discussion of gender and sexuality in classrooms.
The Disney fight was one that pro-business critics within the party said DeSantis didn’t need to wage.
While many significant donors threw their support behind DeSantis early on, they began to rebel as early as the summer.
Robert Bigelow, who gave millions to the super PAC fundraising group backing DeSantis, told Reuters in August he was cutting off funding, turned off by the governor’s uncompromising position on abortion.