Haley Reacts as DeSantis Exits 2024 Race: ‘May the Best Woman Win’

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Nikki Haley entered a seafood shack in Seabrook, N.H., on Sunday afternoon with some news for the crowd: Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, was no longer running for president.

“We just heard that Ron DeSantis has dropped out of the race,” Ms. Haley, the former South Carolina governor, said to cheers from the several dozen attendees. “And I want to say to Ron, he ran a great race, he’s been a good governor and we wish him well.”

“Having said that, it’s now one fella and one lady left,” she continued, holding up two fingers, to more cheers. She added: “For now, I’ll leave you with this: May the best woman win.”

Ms. Haley and her allies have long sought to frame the presidential race as being between herself and former President Donald J. Trump, even as she finished third in the Iowa caucuses. With Mr. DeSantis now out of the race, that argument became much more salient — though recent polling averages put her 15 percentage points behind Mr. Trump in New Hampshire.

She furthered that argument in a statement issued by her campaign, in which she noted that “only one state has voted” and that “half of its votes went to Donald Trump, and half did not.” (Mr. Trump received 51 percent of the vote in the Iowa caucuses.)

“Voters deserve a say in whether we go down the road of Trump and Biden again, or we go down a new conservative road,” Ms. Haley said in the statement. “New Hampshire voters will have their say on Tuesday.”

Ms. Haley also committed to staying in the race through the South Carolina primary and Super Tuesday on March 5, regardless of what happens in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday.

Rather than deliver remarks in Seabrook, as she has at recent retail stops, Ms. Haley went straight to taking selfies and speaking one-on-one with supporters — a small victory lap, of sorts.

Speaking with CNN’s Dana Bash after the event, Ms. Haley escalated her attacks against Mr. Trump, whom she has hit harder in recent days, as well as President Biden. She said they were “equally bad” for the country.

“If either one of them was good, I wouldn’t be running,” she added.

Ms. Haley told CNN that Mr. DeSantis, who endorsed Mr. Trump in his announcement dropping out of the race, had not called to inform her of his departure.

She also said that Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina did not tell her that he would endorse Mr. Trump earlier this week — though Mr. Scott told CNN that he had texted her the day before endorsing Mr. Trump. “He didn’t tell me that he was going to do this,” Ms. Haley said.

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Haley Reacts as DeSantis Exits 2024 Race: ‘May the Best Woman Win’

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