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Former UN ambassador and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has begun to surge in the 2024 GOP primary, even managing to slide into second place, surpassing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, in one new survey.
During an appearance on Fox News, host Neil Cavuto asked DeSantis if he planned to drop out of the race as Haley, who served as the UN ambassador under former President Donald Trump, continues to rise in the polls.
“Nikki Haley has emerged as a strong polling favorite. She’s tied with you in Iowa, and that has come really following her very tough talk of not only supporting Israel and Ukraine but backing them both up with the money they need and not debating the issue,” Cavuto began during the segment. “Now, do you fear you’re kind of threading the needle on this is hurting you, that she’s clear, you’re not, she’s gaining, you’re not? She’s seen as an acceptable number two to Donald Trump. You’re not.”
“Well, actually, I’ve been much clearer on Israel. I mean, I said from the beginning, no Gaza refugees. You know, she said that America has been able to separate terrorists from freedom fighters,” the Florida governor responded. “And that’s what we have to do now. She backtracked on that. But I’ve been very clear, no refugees.”
Cavuto countered: “You have been seen as an alternative to Donald Trump. I don’t know if that holds on now with Nikki Haley and her surge. These are all polls to your point. I want to get a sense for you what you make of former Vice President Mike Pence stepping out of the race. You talked in the past it would be a good idea to narrow this down to two or three people. If you don’t emerge as one of those two to three, would you step out of this race?”
“I am definitely going to be in the top so we’re ready for that. We’re going to the distance. People can make whatever decisions that they want. I respect the vice president’s decision. I think he’s a good man,” DeSantis said. “I think he’s served the conservative cause very well over a number of years. You know, I’m in it all the way, so you’re going to be seeing a lot of me.”
“Even if you sink in the polls or others, particularly Nikki Haley, emerge stronger?” Cavuto pressed.
“It’s not about the polls,” the governor replied.”
“You have to win in Iowa, in other words?” said the host
“We’re going to win in Iowa,” DeSantis vowed.
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL): “I’m in it all the way, so you’re going to be seeing a lot of me.”
Fox News’ Neil Cavuto: “Even if you sink in the polls or others, particularly Nikki Haley, emerge as stronger —”
DeSantis: “It’s not about the polls.” pic.twitter.com/6zwgrkdXoX
— The Recount (@therecount) October 31, 2023
According to a CNN poll released on Tuesday, Haley has risen to second place behind Trump in her home state of South Carolina. Her 22 percent support doubles that of DeSantis’ 11 percent, with fellow GOP candidate and South Carolinian Sen. Tim Scott stuck at 6 percent.
Citing the CNN survey, the New York Daily News noted:
Haley’s rise in South Carolina comes on the heels of her pulling into a tie for second with DeSantis at 16% apiece in a new poll of Iowa, the first-in-the-nation caucus state where his campaign has put virtually all its attention in recent weeks.
Haley says she is on the cusp of being the main alternative to Trump in the race for the nomination, leapfrogging DeSantis, who has been sliding in polls for several months now.
DeSantis countered Tuesday by criticizing a pro-Haley political action committee for funding attack ads aimed at him.
“You don’t do that unless you view me as the threat,” DeSantis said in an interview with conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt.
Some political analysts have suggested that if Trump doesn’t perform well in Iowa or New Hampshire — the first two primary contests, respectively — a challenger could emerge and may have a chance to snatch the nomination from him, the NY Daily News added.