The Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity decided to put their millions of non-Trump supporting dollars behind Nikki Haley instead of Ron DeSantis, which signals the end of the DeSantis campaign.
Polling also played a key role in AFP Action’s decision: In another memo, the group detailed how Ron DeSantis’ polling “has been static or shrinking” while Haley’s support continues to grow in early voting states. Haley also benefits from high favorability numbers, “is less defined than DeSantis and certainly Trump,” and “consistently performs the best against Joe Biden” in the group’s internal polls, the memo noted.
“Congratulations to Donald Trump on securing the Koch endorsement,” DeSantis communications director Andrew Romeo said in a statement. “Like clockwork, the pro-open borders, pro-jail break bill establishment is lining up behind a moderate who has no mathematical pathway of defeating the former president. Every dollar spent on Nikki Haley’s candidacy should be reported as an in-kind to the Trump campaign. No one has a stronger record of beating the establishment than Ron DeSantis, and this time will be no different.”
DeSantis has been fading for months. He has been barely noticeable in the Republican primary debates. The Florida governor’s poll numbers have been in steady decline. DeSantis’s fundraising has dried up, and his campaign has been giving off the stench of political death for a very long time.
The problem as illustrated by the DeSantis campaign statement above, is that Ron DeSantis is trying to run as anti-establishment against Trump, whose whole brand within the Republican Party is anti-establishment even though Trump controls the Republican Party and is the establishment.
Ron DeSantis’s brand of Trump-lite was never a good fit for the more traditional big corporate libertarianism of the Koch operation, but it would have been a win for DeSantis to keep Koch out of the GOP primary.
As it stands, Nikki Haley is going to get a massive advertising push before the early voting states, and Ron DeSantis is being left to wilt and wither by the side of the 2024 road to the White House.
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Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
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Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association