Washington, Jan 18 (PTI) Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has signalled that he would largely bypass the New Hampshire primary next week and instead would focus on South Carolina where the Republican presidential primary is scheduled for February 24.
The move makes it a direct contest between former president Donald Trump and Indian American Nikki Haley for the crucial Republican presidential primary in New Hampshire on January 23.
The latest poll released Wednesday showed that Trump and Haley are tied in this State with both polling 40 per cent each.
New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu has endorsed Haley.
Trump won the first Republican presidential caucus this Monday by bagging more than 51 per cent of the votes. DeSantis came second with over 21 per cent of the votes and Haley followed him with 19 per cent of the votes.
On Wednesday the DeSantis campaign signalled that it would largely skip campaigning in New Hampshire and instead pour its entire resources and energy into South Carolina, which also happens to be the home State of Haley, where she was elected twice as governor.
“I’m the only candidate who beats Joe Biden by double digits. And a victory that big means a conservative landslide from school boards to the US Senate. We will have a mandate to stop the chaos and save America,” Haley wrote in an op-ed for the New Hampshire Journal.
Sununu told the New Hampshire Journal that the presidential primary is still “a two-person race” between Haley and Trump.
“Because DeSantis isn’t here (in New Hampshire). He’s out of money, he has no momentum, and he’s in single digits,” he said.
The New York Times wrote that the change in strategy by DeSantis appeared to set up the one-on-one contest in New Hampshire that Nikki Haley has been hoping for against former President Donald J. Trump, who leads in polls but is more vulnerable in the moderate state than in socially conservative Iowa. At the same time, the shift could put new pressure on Haley in South Carolina, where she once served as governor, it said.
According to the Daily and multiple other media outlets, the DeSantis Campaign began moving a majority of its staff to South Carolina to prepare for its February 24 primary.
“When Nikki Haley fails to win her home state, she’ll be finished and this will be a two-person race. We’re wasting no time in taking the fight directly to Haley on her home turf,” Andrew Romeo, a campaign spokesman, told the New York Times in a statement.
“But the move showed that DeSantis was all but giving up on competing in New Hampshire, where his poll numbers have been abysmal, trailing in the single digits far behind Trump and Haley,” the daily reported. PTI LKJ AMS AMS