MYRTLE BEACH, N.C. — On the ultimate weekend of campaigning earlier than New Hampshire’s first Republican presidential major, voters gathered and braved the chilly to see Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
However as an alternative of a retail cease in Nashua, New Hampshire, or a city corridor in Manchester on Saturday, DeSantis met with lots of of individuals on a day of campaigning that started in Myrtle Seashore, South Carolina.
“Properly, once I received off the airplane, I did not know if I used to be in South Carolina or New Hampshire as a result of it was 30 levels,” he joked.
It is unseasonably chilly in Myrtle Seashore, and it is uncommon for a serious candidate to point out up in South Carolina within the ultimate days earlier than the competition in New Hampshire.
After ending second within the Iowa caucus final week, DeSantis is polling within the single digits in New Hampshire — far behind former President Donald Trump. Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley – And he might withdraw with out gaining a single delegate essential to in the end safe the Republican nomination.
there A few other competitions Within the coming weeks, nonetheless, DeSantis will end first within the Southern major on the finish of February.
“I believe clearly when you take a look at this constituency, this can be a nice constituency for me,” he instructed reporters on Saturday. “It is a veteran-heavy nation, a military-heavy nation. It is a conservative nation.”
Extra pointedly, DeSantis stated there’s an opportunity he might do effectively towards Healy.
He added: “There are too many conservative voters right here for somebody like Nikki Haley to have the ability to win the state.”
Beneath the DeSantis marketing campaign’s idea within the case, focusing on and attacking the previous South Carolina governor would power her out of the race and arrange an actual showdown towards Trump earlier than 16 states vote on Tremendous Tuesday in early March.
Given Trump’s indictments and his fears that President Biden may defeat Trump a second time, successful this state could be his greatest likelihood to persuade major voters that he’s a more sensible choice.
However like this week’s New Hampshire contest, DeSantis is in third place and dangers developing empty-handed in South Carolina as effectively.
‘Not this yr’
It isn’t that Republican major voters don’t love Ron DeSantis, there’s plenty of overlap in ideology and help from his base and Donald Trump’s base.
“All of us have good candidates. I’ll vote for the highest three,” stated Jim Bollig of Myrtle Seashore. “I believe former President Trump has lots to do.”
“However I believe they should unify all three and produce them collectively, as a result of Republicans have been cheering,” he added.
Bollig is considered one of a number of individuals who attended DeSantis’ occasions in South Carolina over the weekend and who instructed NPR they assume he could be an awesome president — however not when Trump runs.
“President Trump has already been there, carried out that, and proven management,” Bollig defined.
This sentiment was echoed by Ken Coleman.
“Sadly, I do not assume that is his time,” he stated of DeSantis earlier than the occasion. “Not this yr.”
On the finish of this system, Coleman needed to ask DeSantis concerning the southern border and the battle towards unlawful immigration. All through the day, crowds cheered as he talked about authorities spending cuts, the battle towards range, fairness and inclusion applications at schools and universities, and DeSantis’ different plans for America.
“He has an excellent popularity amongst conservatives,” Coleman stated of DeSantis.
“I believe now it’s kind of untimely.”
Nationwide and state polls proceed to point out Donald Trump with a large lead within the primaries. As DeSantis traveled from New Hampshire to South Carolina, high Palmetto State Republicans, together with Sen. Tim Scott, started the weekend in New Hampshire campaigning for Trump.
Scott, a former presidential candidate who has beforehand stated Trump can not win the 2024 common election, endorsed the previous president at a rally, saying “we’d like Donald Trump.”
DeSantis says he is on this area for the lengthy haul and has a path to the nomination. However he appears to comprehend that this path does not move via South Carolina — but.
After spending Saturday at eating places throughout South Carolina, DeSantis canceled his main tv look on Sunday to return to the Granite State and resume campaigning the place voters will fill out their poll on Tuesday.