DeSantis Quietly Starts Building His Off-Ramp From 2024 Race


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After a humbling loss in Iowa, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida is starting to signal that he is building an off-ramp from the race for the Republican presidential nomination, a seeming acknowledgment of his dim prospects of defeating Donald J. Trump given his low poll numbers in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

So far this week, Mr. DeSantis has cast his eyes forward to 2028 with anecdotes about Trump supporters saying they would vote for him next time around if he runs again in four years. He has conceded that Mr. Trump’s thumping victory in Iowa on Monday made for a “good showing in terms of him winning the nomination.” And he has openly admitted that he believes he made a strategic mistake by icing out the traditional media earlier in the campaign.

It all amounted to a kind of frankness that Mr. DeSantis has not always shown in his public comments about the nominating contest — and a marked change in tone for a candidate who spent most of last year brashly promising he would win Iowa, which he lost by 30 points.

On Thursday, the conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt asked Mr. DeSantis if his campaign would survive through the end of March. The Florida governor replied that things were not necessarily going to plan.

“Look, my goal is to win the nomination. Had we won Iowa, we would have been in a great spot,” Mr. DeSantis said, before suggesting there would be no point in staying in the race if it were to become clear he that he could not win.

“I don’t want to be VP, I don’t want to be in the cabinet, I don’t want a TV show,” he said. “I’m in it to win it, and at some point if that’s not working out for you, I recognize that. This isn’t a vanity thing for me.”

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DeSantis Quietly Starts Building His Off-Ramp From 2024 Race

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