DeSantis campaign responds to rumors of planned dropout, Trump endorsement

 January 8, 2024

Facing a potential wipeout in the upcoming Iowa caucuses, Florida governor Ron DeSantis (R) is shutting down rumors that he has plans to end his campaign.

A story in The Hill said that DeSantis is prepared to drop out - then make a reluctant endorsement of rival President Trump - if DeSantis stumbles in Iowa on January 15.

The piece cites a "major donor and a high-level political operative" who said DeSantis will suspend his campaign either on January 15 or the morning after.

DeSantis dismisses rumors

DeSantis has campaigned in every county in Iowa, and he is betting heavily on a strong showing there to salvage his troubled candidacy.

Despite an endorsement from Iowa governor Kim Reynolds (R), DeSantis is double digits behind Trump in the state's polls.

DeSantis attempted to flip the script by claiming the Hill story came from Trump's "desperate" campaign.

"Team Trump must be getting nervous," DeSantis press secretary Bryan Griffin posted to X, formerly Twitter. "They're acting like the leftist media, pushing fake news from a hack op-ed and anonymous sources."

"Ron DeSantis is in this for the long haul," he added.

Sources have separately told the New York Times that those close to DeSantis are preparing to "make the patient comfortable."

End of the road?

DeSantis began 2023 with high hopes. After winning re-election by a landslide, the governor was touted as a big threat to Trump's ambitions - or, if DeSantis opted not to run, a shoo-in to be Trump's successor in 2028.

Challenging Trump head-on turned out to be a miscalculation for DeSantis, whose campaign went through a series of resets as the governor came under scrutiny for his perceived awkwardness.

DeSantis has tried to recapture lost momentum by taking swipes at Trump and his record - but the attacks have only backfired, and Trump is widely expected to win the nomination quite easily.

With the primary finally here, DeSantis is fighting to hold onto his once-secure position as the runner-up against Nikki Haley. The two will debate on CNN this Wednesday.

DeSantis is still polling second in Iowa, but a lackluster showing there could spell the end of his bid. In New Hampshire's primary polls, DeSantis lags far behind - with even Chris Christie coming out ahead.

It looks like, once again, Trump is getting the last laugh.

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