Debate moderator Megyn Kelly asked Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in the first question of the fourth debate whether he should drop out of the GOP primary, citing his terrible polling against former President Donald Trump.
Kelly’s question highlights the challenges facing the DeSantis campaign, such as fleeing donors and polling numbers that have flat-lined at best.
“Your campaign and its super PAC had spent the most money, had the most high net worth donors, and had a wave of momentum coming into this race. After your big reelection win in Florida, you were seen by many as the candidate most likely to consolidate the non-Trump field,” Kelly prefaced:
But here we are a month out from the first real votes and you haven’t managed to do it. In fact, Nikki Haley is beating you in New Hampshire and South Carolina now and closing in on you in Iowa. Not to mention Trump, who is not only dominating in the early states, but he’s beating you in Florida by over 30 points.
“Is it fair to say, as Senator Tim Scott did, when he dropped out that voters are telling you not no, but not now,” she asked.
DeSantis immediately redirected the question towards fallible political experts.
“So we have a great idea in America that the voters actually make these decisions, not pundits or pollsters. I’m sick of hearing about these polls, because I remember those polls in November of 2022. They said there was going to be a big red wave. It was going to be monumental. And that crashed and burned,” he replied. “The one place it didn’t crash and burn was in the state of Florida.”
“They weren’t predicting that I would win the way I did,” DeSantis argued. “And I want the greatest Republican victory in the history of the state of Florida. I’m looking forward to Iowa and New Hampshire. The voters are going to be able to speak, and we’re going to earn this nomination, and here’s what we need.”
Follow Wendell Husebø on “X” @WendellHusebø. He is the author of Politics of Slave Morality.