Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis relayed a message to New Hampshire voters ahead of next Tuesday’s primary that he will bring the “Live Free or Die” motto to the White House if elected president.
The Florida Governor penned an op-ed in the NH Journal on Friday in which he praised the Granite State’s motto, equating it to the leadership he exercised in his home state of Florida and pledged to bring an identical approach, if elected, into the Oval Office.
“One of my favorite parts of New Hampshire is your state motto,” DeSantis wrote in the New Hampshire-based publication on Friday. “Live free or die’ is the motto I have led by in Florida, and it’s the mindset I’ll bring to the White House as president.”
The Florida governor, who is polling far behind former President Trump and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley in New Hampshire, hopes to galvanize voters before the first-in-the-nation primary by touting his legislative record in Florida.
In the op-ed, DeSantis highlighted his inclination to “protect” citizens’ Second Amendment rights, efforts to defund Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs in public universities, and cut down Florida’s debt.
“I protected citizens’ Second Amendment rights and delivered constitutional carry for the people of Florida,” DeSantis wrote. “I put the indoctrination camps in our public universities out of business by defunding the discriminatory Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion cartel. I reduced every Florida taxpayer’s share of the state debt by actually paying down 25 percent of Florida’s debt.”
The Republican candidate vowed to “close” the southern border, advocate for “term limits” for Congressional lawmakers, and get a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution to rake in government spending.
“I will close the southern border and hold the Mexican drug cartels accountable,” DeSantis wrote. “Unrestrained illegal immigration steals freedom and opportunity from everyone. And illegal drugs like fentanyl coming across the border rob freedom from our future generations.”
When he announced he was shifting his campaign resources and staff to South Carolina, the Florida governor was questioned if he was “skipping” the New Hampshire primary where he already polling far behind Trump and Haley.
He pushed back on the idea, saying he and his campaign “went to South Carolina, knocked out a couple of events, and then did what we were planning to do in New Hampshire. That was somehow caricatured as ‘skipping’ New Hampshire when it wasn’t. It was adding South Carolina in addition to that,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis’ performance in Iowa, where he finished in a distant second place behind Trump, raised concerns about the viability of his run in New Hampshire. He is currently polling third in New Hampshire at 9.4 percent, over 44 points behind Trump, the GOP frontrunner, who is at 53.7 percent. Haley, who is looking to consolidate independent and “never-Trump” Republicans in the Granite State before the Jan. 23 primary, is currently sitting second at 25.3 percent, according to the latest polling averages from Decision Desk HQ and The Hill.