New York Post, November 2023
Weeks of inter-campaign bickering will likely come to a head Wednesday night when Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley meet face-to-face in downtown Miami for the third Republican primary debate. Both contenders are trying to pitch themselves as the most viable alternative to former President Donald Trump, who has long held the frontrunner spot in the GOP primary.
That struggle has become more bitter as recent polls have shown Haley gaining on DeSantis in the early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. “I think both Haley and DeSantis have given up on trying to cut into Trump’s rock solid support and [are instead] doing what they can to claim the No. 2 spot in the event that Trump’s candidacy implodes,” Northeastern University political science professor Costas Panagopoulos told The Post.
Trump has 91 pending counts against him across four indictments, a fact both Haley and DeSantis have suggested would be a major liability for Republicans in next year’s general election. For now, however, Trump’s support among the party faithful has only solidified as his legal troubles mount.