DeSantis skips New Hampshire days before primary to focus on South Carolina

After former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie dropped out, his supporters in New Hampshire are now primarily backing Haley.

Published: January 18, 2024 7:40am

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is pulling back from campaigning in New Hampshire where he is polling in the single digits days before the state holds the first 2024 presidential primary.

DeSantis is shifting his focus on South Carolina, where he will be holding campaign events on Saturday and Sunday, a campaign official said, Politico reported Wednesday.

With New Hampshire's Republican primary on Tuesday, DeSantis is polling at an average of 5.4%, according to FiveThirtyEight. This is more than 40 points below former President Donald Trump, who is polling at 45.6% in New Hampshire on average. While DeSantis finished about 2 points ahead of former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley in the Iowa caucus, she is polling significantly ahead of him on average in New Hampshire with 33.1%. 

The New Hampshire GOP primary changed when former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie dropped out, as his more centrist supporters are primarily backing Haley, according to DeSantis campaign finance committee member Slater Bayliss. 

While Haley served as South Carolina governor from 2011 to 2017, the DeSantis campaign believes she may be at risk in her home state. 

Bayliss said that "DeSantis’ military service and environmental record should resonate very well" with voters in South Carolina, as he served in the U.S. Navy and has a record of supporting conservation in Florida. 

DeSantis will still face challenges getting ahead in South Carolina. With the state's GOP primary scheduled for Feb. 24, Haley has more than twice the amount of support than DeSantis, at 24.9% to 12.1% on average. Trump is significantly ahead of all candidates in South Carolina, as he is polling at 54.8% on average.

Follow Madeleine Hubbard on X or Instagram.

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