Ron DeSantis is ending his 2024 presidential campaign.
DeSantis entered the race with lofty expectations, with many conservatives seeing him as a next-generation GOP figure.
But Trump has had a disciplined campaign, and DeSantis lost key support in many early-voting states.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Sunday suspended his presidential campaign, a stunning fall for the conservative leader who had long been seen as the biggest threat to former President Donald Trump's 2024 campaign.
"I can't ask our supporters to volunteer their time and donate their resources if we don't have a clear path to victory," DeSantis said in a message to supporters. "It's clear to me that a majority of Republican primary voters want to give Donald Trump another chance."
"While this campaign has ended, the mission continues," he continued. "Down here in Florida, we will continue to show the country how to lead."
DeSantis, who entered the presidential race last May, sought to build on the national profile that he had built for himself as an immigration hard-liner and as a politician who had fought against COVID-19 mandates. After winning reelection in November 2022 in a 19-point landslide, DeSantis' profile exploded, and he was immediately viewed by many Republicans as the conservative who could go toe-to-toe against Trump and capture the GOP nomination.
In several polls taken before DeSantis entered the race, the governor actually polled ahead of Trump, which at the time revealed the vulnerable state that the former president found himself in politically after Republicans faltered in the 2022 midterm elections.
After DeSantis entered the race, he was competitive in the early-voting states, but as the summer and fall went on, his numbers slipped precipitously across the country. He staked his campaign on winning the Iowa caucuses, but Trump's standing in the state only strengthened by the end of last year.
Trump's myriad legal issues seemingly had the effect of boosting his polling numbers with GOP primary voters, which in turn iced out DeSantis as the leading alternative to the former president.
Trump would go on to win the Iowa caucuses, taking 51% of the vote to DeSantis' 21% share and former UN ambassador Nikki Haley's 19%. Despite campaigning in all 99 of Iowa's counties, DeSantis did not win a single county in the state.
DeSantis' exit from the race also comes two days before the New Hampshire primary, a contest where he was struggling for relevancy, with most his polling numbers mired in the single digits.
The governor in recent days had sought to pivot to the South Carolina Republican primary on Feb. 24, but with Trump riding high there and Haley have a sizable level of support in her home state, his pathway to continuing in the race became incredibly murky.
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