News (USA)

Ron DeSantis’s closest rival in the GOP presidential race has finally caught up to him

Lynchburg, Virginia USA - April 14, 2023 - Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaking at Liberty University on April 14, 2023.
Ron DeSantis Photo: Shutterstock

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is no longer the sole runner-up in the 2024 Republican presidential primary. His opponent, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, has finally caught up with him in at least three major U.S. polls — though almost all major national polls show both of them trailing former President Donald Trump by 50% or more.

Three polls — Quinnipiac, Morning Consult, and Reuters/Ipsos — all show Haley and DeSantis receiving an equal 11% of voter support. All three also show Trump receiving 61% to 67% of overall voter support. These polls show that she has gained ground on him, even though he accused her of supporting child genital mutilation in a recent Republican primary debate. (Trump hasn’t attended any of he debates.)

These recent polls coincide with recent bad news for DeSantis. Last month, six Florida legislators switched their endorsements to Trump. Also, at least six leaders of his main super PAC, Never Back Down, have departed in the past few months amid rumors of mismanagement.

On Monday, the nonprofit watchdog group Campaign Legal Center filed with the Federal Election Commission alleging illegal coordination between DeSantis and the super PAC, in violation of federal election laws, NBC News reported. A super PAC spokesperson denied the accusations, and a DeSantis spokesperson said the campaign still has “full confidence” in the “stellar team” still remaining at the organization.

Nevertheless, DeSantis and Haley are both polling terribly in the first three states hosting GOP primary elections. DeSantis’s wife, Casey DeSantis, recently encouraged supporters to commit voter fraud to help her husband win the Iowa caucuses. DeSantis has invested millions in Iowa, the first state to hold a Republican presidential primary. If DeSantis doesn’t win the state’s January 15 primary, it may well signal the end of his rocky campaign.

DeSantis has used education policy as a way to push his anti-LGBTQ+ views, including the passage of his infamous “Don’t Say Gay” law and numerous other anti-LGBTQ+ laws. DeSantis has repeatedly lied while publicly defending these laws.

Haley has previously said that the government shouldn’t have to recognize same-sex marriages and that transgender youth should be barred from participating in sports. She also supports Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill and believes it doesn’t go far enough because she thinks acknowledging the existence of LGBTQ+ people is the same as talking about sexual intercourse.

While serving as ambassador to the UN, the United States voted against a 2017 U.N. resolution condemning the death penalty for consensual same-sex relations.

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