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Ron DeSantis drops out of presidential race after campaign’s failure to launch

Ron DeSantis is suspending his 2024 presidential campaign, according to an announcement video posted on X.

“We don’t have a clear path to victory. Accordingly, I am today suspending my campaign,” Mr DeSantis said. “I’m proud to have delivered on 100% of my promises. I will not stop now.”

The Florida governor went on to endorse the former president for the nomination.

“I’ve had disagreements with Donald Trump, such as on the Coronavirus pandemic, and his elevation of Anthony Fauci,” he said. “Trump is superior to the current incumbent Joe Biden.”

“I signed a pledge to support the Republican nominee and I will honor that pledge,” he continued. “He has my endorsement because we can't go back to the old Republican guard of yesteryear, or a repackaged form of warmed over corporatism that Nikki Haley represents.”

Meanwhile, Nikki Haley said Ron DeSantis “ran a great race” after receiving the news he had dropped out during a campaign event in New Hampshire.

“He’s been a good governor, and we wish him well,” Ms Haley said at the Sunday afternoon event. “Having said that, it’s now one fella and one lady left.”

The announcement comes just days ahead of the New Hampshire Republican primary, in which Mr DeSantis was polling in third place with single digits after winning second place in the Iowa Republican caucus. If Mr DeSantis received less than 10 per cent of the vote, as the polls are projecting, he would have been inelligble for any delegates per state primary rules.

The Florida governor’s campaign was plagued by challenges long before the primary season kicked off in Iowa.

Last month, Jeff Roe left his role as top adviser to Never Back Down, the super PAC backing the DeSantis campaign. The move came just hours after The Washington Post published a story about the internal disputes and suspicions between the PAC, the campaign and DeSantis’ allies.

NBC News also published an exclusive report on Sunday detailing the pitfalls of the DeSantis campaign.

“This thing blew up on the launch pad,” a former adviser to the governor told the outlet. “They had six months to get ready for very serious strategic questions, the most important of which was how to deal with Donald Trump. They had no answers. We are nine months in, and they still have not figured it out.”

Mr DeSantis also cancelled his Sunday media appearances ahead of this announcement, with press secretary Bryan Griffin claiming it was due to scheduling issues. The move prompted questions about the future of his campaign hours before Sunday afternoon’s confirmation.

The Independent has contacted the DeSantis campaign for additional comment.

This is a developing story...