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Is DeSantis The Next Comeback Kid?

Candidates in prior presidential primaries have made dramatic comebacks. Could DeSantis win Iowa and New Hampshire?

MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE — Despite a recent drop in the New Hampshire polls, Ron DeSantis will hit the road this weekend with super PAC Never Back Down to meet with voters in Manchester and speak at a town hall in Newport.


DeSantis has largely maintained second place to Trump in New Hampshire. But a poll released this week by Emerson College shows Chris Christie, a former New Jersey governor and former Trump ally, in second place with 9 percent support, one point ahead of DeSantis.

When asked who voters would choose as president today, the poll showed Biden up three points since March, with a seven-point lead over former President Trump. But the DeSantis campaign contends that Florida’s governor is the only candidate who can beat Joe Biden in 2024.

“While Trump continues to make this election all about himself, DeSantis is the best candidate to unite the Republican Party, make this election about the future, and send Joe Biden back to his basement in Delaware for good,” said DeSantis campaign spokesman Andrew Romeo.


While some say DeSantis has lost his grip on second place, the governor continues to pick up endorsements in early-voting states while supporters carry out a massive grassroots blitz. Never Back Down, the super PAC backing DeSantis has knocked on 182,000 doors in New Hampshire alone and nearly 1.6 million doors nationwide.

“Governor DeSantis is putting in the work day-in and day-out to meet with and hear directly from voters across the country, including New Hampshire,” Never Back Down spokesperson Jess Szymanski told The Florida Standard. “Never Back Down will keep amplifying the Governor’s story of commitment to our country and always fighting for American freedom...”


Perceptions of Florida’s governor in mainstream media have changed since he won reelection in Florida by 20 points. DeSantis was targeted by nearly $26 million in negative ads and his polling gap has widened to 37 percentage points in some surveys.

Has DeSantis’ campaign “diminished” or “stalled” as mainstream media suggests, or does DeSantis – who survived fiery arrows from the media, Trump and the White House – have the opportunity to become the next “Comeback Kid?”

DeSantis has acknowledged that he is battling the odds and wouldn’t be constantly attacked by Trump and his supporters unless he was a threat.


DeSantis says he’s committed to reviving a country in decline, and according to his campaign, he has the best shot of beating Biden and serving two terms as president. But many voters have not made up their minds by this stage.

In 1991, many Democrats thought Bill Clinton should wait until the 1996 cycle to run for president. Clinton was fighting an uphill battle during his first presidential campaign after George H.W. Bush became popular after touting the success of the Persian Gulf War.

Although Clinton’s campaign had a robust start, he struggled during the primary and floundered to third place in the Iowa caucuses. Later in February, Clinton closed the gap and won half of Iowa’s delegates. Clinton then went on to win New Hampshire and most of the primaries on Super Tuesday.


While some say it’s too late for DeSantis to turn his campaign around, it’s still relatively early in the campaign season. DeSantis has five months to refine his strategy before early states such as Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina begin voting.

While Trump maintains strong support among Republicans, 45 percent said they would not vote for him if he is convicted of a felony by a jury, according to a recent Reuters/Ipsos survey. As a strong challenger, DeSantis has an opportunity to unite those voters, both Republicans and Independents.

DeSantis will appear live at the first Republican primary debate next week, hosted by Fox News in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Christie has qualified to attend, but it remains to be seen if Trump agrees to participate.

The Florida Standard’s Editor in Chief, Will Witt, sat down with Governor Ron DeSantis for an exclusive interview that will be released this week. Be sure to subscribe to The Florida Standard for details.