Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, once perceived as a strong contender in the Republican presidential primary, has announced the suspension of his campaign and endorsed former President Donald Trump. This decision comes just two days before the New Hampshire primary, where DeSantis was expected to trail behind Trump and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley.

Campaign Trail and Decision to Suspend

DeSantis made his announcement via a video on a social media platform, reflecting on his campaign’s journey since finishing second in the Iowa caucus. He expressed his inability to see a clear path to victory and acknowledged the preference of Republican primary voters for Trump’s candidacy over his own and Haley’s.

Nikki Haley, responding to DeSantis’ suspension, praised his efforts and acknowledged the new dynamic of the race, with her as the sole remaining major challenger to Trump.

Throughout his campaign, DeSantis faced various challenges, including mixed signals about his intentions and scheduling issues in key states. His decision to suspend was not anticipated by many, including allies and the pro-DeSantis super PAC, Never Back Down.

Positioning Against Trump

DeSantis initially positioned himself as a politically successful heir to the MAGA movement, without Trump’s associated baggage. However, he struggled to significantly criticize Trump or draw away his support base.

Campaign’s Early Momentum and Subsequent Struggles

DeSantis’ campaign started with strong momentum, backed by a robust political operation and his significant popularity in the Republican Party. However, this momentum waned due to relentless attacks from Trump’s camp and his own campaign missteps.

The DeSantis campaign grappled with internal personnel and financial issues, leading to significant staff changes and reliance on the super PAC Never Back Down for funding and support.

Throughout his campaign, DeSantis emphasized policies he championed in Florida, such as opposing “woke” ideologies and tough stances on immigration and foreign policy. These policies were integral to his campaign messaging.

Final Weeks and Decision

In the final weeks of his campaign, DeSantis focused on bridging the gap with Trump and contending with a rising Haley. However, his efforts in Iowa and subsequent strategies did not yield the desired outcomes, leading to his decision to suspend the campaign.

With three years left in his term as Governor of Florida, DeSantis’ withdrawal reshapes the Republican primary landscape, leaving Trump and Haley as the primary contenders.