Ron DeSantis drops out of 2024 race, says voters 'want to give Trump another chance'

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EXETER, N.H. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis dropped out of the 2024 presidential race on Sunday, two days before the New Hampshire primary.

DeSantis acknowledged in a video that he posted to social media that he did not have a clear path to victory.

"Now following our second-place finish in Iowa, we have prayed and deliberated on the way forward," DeSantis said. "If there was anything I could do to produce a favorable outcome − more campaign stops, more interviews − I would do it.  But I can’t ask our supporters to volunteer their time and donate their resources if we don’t have a clear path to victory."

"Accordingly, I am today suspending my campaign," he said. "I am proud to have delivered on 100% of my promises and I will not stop now."

Added DeSantis, who was far behind former President Donald Trump and former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley in New Hampshire: "It's clear to me that a majority of Republican voters want to give Donald Trump another chance."

DeSantis endorsed Trump, saying that he signed a pledge to support the Republican nominee and that "we can’t go back to the old Republican guard of yesteryear − a repackaged form of warmed-over corporatism − that Nikki Haley represents."

While DeSantis was supposed to have a meet and greet with voters in Manchester, New Hampshire, the event was canceled following his exit from the race. The campaign told USA TODAY in a statement DeSantis will remain in Tallahassee, Florida, on Sunday.

DeSantis narrowly defeated Haley − by two points − for second place in the Iowa caucuses, defying polling that anticipated he would come in third.

Yet he failed to narrow Trump's lead, coming in at 30 points behind the former president. DeSantis had invested heavily in the state and Trump's lead raised questions as to whether the Florida governor has what it takes to surpass Trump.

DeSantis ran on a solidly conservative agenda. Some of his campaign proposals included sending troops to the southern border to use force against drug cartels if elected president, increasing parental oversight in schools and fighting against critical race theory and declaring economic independence from the “failed elites.”

DeSantis previously said he wouldn’t serve as Trump’s vice president if offered.

The Florida governor went after Trump several times on the campaign trail, accusing the former president of failing to deliver on his signature 2016 and 2020 campaign promises like building a wall along America’s southern border. He also accused Trump of being distracted by his four sets of criminal charges, investigations into the Capitol riot on Jan. 6 and other legal challenges

Haley addressed a crowd in Seabrook, New Hampshire, shortly after hearing that DeSantis dropped out of the 2024 race. “I want to say to Ron, he ran a great race. He’s been a good governor and we wish him well,” Haley said to cheers from the crowd gathered at Brown’s Lobster Pound. “It’s now one fella and one lady left,” she added.

Contributing: Des Moines Register

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Ron DeSantis drops out of 2024 presidential race, endorses Trump