Ron DeSantis drops out of 2024 presidential race, endorses Donald Trump

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Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a campaign event at the Chrome Horse Saloon on January 14, 2024 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. 

Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis dropped out of the 2024 presidential race and endorsed front-runner Donald Trump on Sunday, two days before the New Hampshire primary.

“If there was anything I could do to produce a favorable outcome — more campaign stops, more interviews — I would do it, 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,” DeSantis said in a Sunday social media post. “Accordingly, I am today suspending my campaign.”

“Trump is superior to the current incumbent Joe Biden. That is clear,” DeSantis said. “I signed a pledge to support the Republican 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 repackaged form of warmed-over corporatism that Nikki Haley represents.”

The Trump campaign said in a Sunday statement it was “honored” to receive DeSantis’ endorsement, along with “so many other former presidential candidates.”

DeSantis joins a growing list of defunct 2024 candidates, like North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., who endorsed Trump after suspending their campaigns.

At a New Hampshire rally Sunday evening, Trump congratulated Ron for bowing out and giving him his endorsement.

“As you know, he left the campaign trail today at 3 p.m. and in so doing, he was very gracious and he endorsed me, so I appreciate that,” Trump said. “I also look forward to working with Ron and everybody else to defeat crooked Joe Biden.”

I appreciate that. And I also look forward to working with Ron and everybody else to defeat crooked Joe Biden.

Minutes after he announced his exit from the 2024 race, DeSantis canceled a campaign event he had scheduled in New Hampshire. The campaign said that he would instead remain in Tallahassee, Florida.

Despite claiming a victory at the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 15 where he edged out former Haley for second place, DeSantis has severely lagged his opponents in New Hampshire.

DeSantis was polling at 6% in the Granite State, compared to Trump’s 50% and Haley’s 39%, according to a CNN/University of New Hampshire poll conducted between Jan. 16 and 19.

In response to DeSantis’ announcement, Haley said the GOP primary contest is now a “two-person race.”

Since Iowa, the DeSantis campaign has appeared to be winding down. The pro-DeSantis super PAC, Never Back Down, laid off staff earlier this week and DeSantis canceled several media appearances he had scheduled Sunday.

DeSantis’ exit marks the end of a campaign that initially showed promise but has been rife with internal drama and strategic blunders. Reports of infighting seasoned nearly the entire timeline of the DeSantis campaign and staff were often quoted as having lost faith in the campaign well before it ended.

Starting Monday, the Florida governor will return to his day job where he has faced criticism for neglecting his duties in pursuit of the presidency.

“Our governor roams the political world (Florida be damned) seeking the presidential nomination,” a Florida resident wrote in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune earlier in January.

This is a developing story. Check back for more updates.

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