JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — As the Republican Presidential Primary field narrows, Governor Ron DeSantis remains optimistic about his chances at securing the nomination, despite former President Donald Trump maintaining his domineering lead in the polls.
The RealClear Politics Polling Average has Trump at 58 percent support nationally, compared to Governor Ron DeSantis’ 14.5 and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley’s nine.
“The field is shifting. I think you’re going to continue to see that and that’s what I anticipated,” said DeSantis Tuesday.
When asked about the narrowing field and what it means for the race, DeSantis highlighted his recent endorsement from Iowa’s Governor, the 30,000 who have committed to caucus for him in the Hawkeye State, and his ability to secure a full slate of delegates in Alabama as indicators his campaign is still alive and well.
“Getting endorsed by the Governor Kim Reynolds of Iowa was huge. I mean that’s gonna pay dividends and I think you’ll start to see that as the weeks go on,” said DeSantis.
Given the current state of play in the race, we asked UNF political science professor Dr. Michael Binder whether he believes DeSantis stands a chance at walking away with a victory in Iowa.
“The short answer is no,” said Binder.
Binder noted even with the narrowing field likely benefiting non-Trump candidates, it hasn’t made much of an impact.
“There weren’t a lot of votes there to be dispersed. It’s not like any candidates that have dropped out were polling in double digits,” said Binder.
With DeSantis and Haley duking it out for number two, we asked DeSantis what he thought of joining forces and splitting the ticket with Haley.
“The only tickets that are in the future are with DeSantis at the top. I have no interest in being the number two,” said DeSantis.
And for that matter, Binder said he doubts Haley would feel any differently at this point.
“Admitting that you’re willing to be Vice President is akin to quitting and I don’t know that any of them are at that point just yet,” said Binder.
Binder did say a DeSantis-Haley or Haley-DeSantis ticket would likely make the race more interesting, but he added the caveat Trump is polling above 50 and even 60 percent in many polls.
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