Florida governor Ron DeSantis drops out of 2024 US presidential race

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis drops out of the 2024 presidential race and endorses Donald Trump

Donald Trump (left) and Ron DeSantis (right)
Donald Trump (left) and Ron DeSantis (right)

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has dropped out of the 2024 presidential race and endorsed Donald Trump.

He quit ahead of the Republican primary election in New Hampshire, where he was polling in the single digits.

DeSantis was once considered a strong contender for the party’s nomination – he presented himself as the Republican candidate who could deliver Trump’s populist agenda without the drama or baggage. But on Sunday he said he did not “have a clear path to victory”.

Nikki Haley, Trump’s last remaining challenger, said she was the “only one” able to beat US President Joe Biden.

Haley will go head-to-head with Mr Trump in New Hampshire on Tuesday, the second in a series of state-by-state contests to pick a Republican nominee for the November general election.

“If there was anything I could do to produce a favourable outcome - more campaign stops, more interviews - I would do it,” De Santis said in a recorded message, as he ended his seven-month campaign.

The Florida governor said he was endorsing Trump, who is the clear frontrunner after winning the first contest in Iowa with 51% of the vote.

DeSantis said it had become clear that a majority of Republican voters “want to give Donald Trump another chance”. He acknowledged “disagreements” with the former president, but said Trump was “superior” to Biden, who is almost certain to be the Democratic nominee in November’s general election.

There were loud cheers when Trump made his first comments about Mr DeSantis’s withdrawal and endorsement to a room in New Hampshire full of supporters on Sunday afternoon.

Later, addressing an audience at a rally, Trump described his former opponent as a “really terrific person”, adding: “He ran a really good campaign, it’s not easy.”