DeSantis to go from Iowa straight to South Carolina

DeSantis to go from Iowa straight to South Carolina

Ron DeSantis is heading straight to South Carolina — not New Hampshire — from Iowa, his campaign confirmed to POLITICO, as he looks to take the post-caucus fight to Nikki Haley’s backyard.

Candidates traditionally decamp directly to New Hampshire after the Iowa caucuses. But DeSantis’ detour to South Carolina, first reported by The Associated Press, comes as the Florida governor looks to up the pressure on Haley in the race for second place against former President Donald Trump. DeSantis trails both Trump and Haley, the former South Carolina governor by wide margins in New Hampshire polls.

DeSantis isn’t skipping the first primary state. After stopping in South Carolina, he’ll fly to New Hampshire on Tuesday for a nighttime town hall with CNN, his campaign said. He’s also due to appear at an afternoon event in New Hampshire hosted by his allied super PAC, Never Back Down, according to a person familiar with the group’s plans and granted anonymity to discuss the scheduling.

“This campaign is built for the long-haul. We intend to compete for every single available delegate in New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina and then into March,” DeSantis campaign spokesperson Andrew Romeo said in a statement. “That begins on Monday’s Iowa Caucus, and the next day we will kick our campaign into overdrive in both South Carolina and New Hampshire.”

DeSantis is looking for a strong second-place showing in Iowa to boost his campaign heading into the next nominating contests. He’ll need it in New Hampshire, where support for DeSantis has tanked over the past year. He started 2023 beating Trump in one poll of likely GOP primary voters in the state, but entered the election year with a string of surveys showing him stuck in the single digits.

Haley has spent both more money and more time in the state, having earned the support of New Hampshire’s popular governor, Chris Sununu. DeSantis, meanwhile, was absent from New Hampshire for long stretches last year as he focused on Iowa.

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