Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has strategically shifted his focus away from the upcoming New Hampshire primary, signaling a preference for concentrating on the Republican presidential primary in South Carolina scheduled for February 24. This decision sets the stage for a head-to-head competition between former President Donald Trump and Indian American Nikki Haley in the critical New Hampshire primary on January 23.
Recent polls indicate a tie between Trump and Haley in New Hampshire, each polling at 40 percent. New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu has endorsed Haley, further emphasizing the competitive dynamics within the state. In the previous Republican presidential caucus, Trump secured over 51 percent of the votes, with DeSantis coming in second at over 21 percent and Haley following closely with 19 percent.
The DeSantis campaign, on Wednesday, signaled its intention to minimize efforts in New Hampshire and redirect resources and energy toward the South Carolina primary, which is also Haley's home state where she served two terms as governor. Haley, in an op-ed for the New Hampshire Journal, emphasized her viability against Joe Biden and the potential for a conservative landslide.
Despite DeSantis' decision, Sununu stated that the presidential primary remains a "two-person race" between Haley and Trump, citing DeSantis' absence, financial constraints, and single-digit poll numbers.
The New York Times noted that DeSantis' strategic shift establishes a one-on-one contest in New Hampshire, providing Haley with the scenario she has been seeking against Trump. However, this move may also intensify pressure on Haley in South Carolina, where she previously served as governor.
Reports indicate that the DeSantis Campaign is relocating a majority of its staff to South Carolina in preparation for the February 24 primary. A campaign spokesman highlighted the anticipation of Haley's potential failure in her home state, projecting a two-person race once she falters. While DeSantis seems to be conceding New Hampshire due to low poll numbers, the shift underscores the evolving dynamics of the Republican primary landscape.
(With Agency Inputs)