Ron DeSantis blames ‘checked out’ voters for failed presidential bid

Florida governor wears a shirt and suit jacket while talking to people off screen

Ron DeSantis has blamed “checked out” voters for his failed presidential campaign, rather than Donald Trump’s popularity or his own mistakes. 

The Florida governor dropped out of the Republican race over the weekend after a lacklustre performance in the Iowa caucuses, where he finished a distant second to Trump. He had trailed the former president in most polls since launching his bid for the White House last May. 

In his first interview since dropping out of the race, DeSantis told BlazeTV’s Steve Deace on Tuesday (23 January) that an “enthusiasm” problem with voters spelt doom for his presidential bid.

“To have 110,000 people show up when in 2016 you had 186,000 show up, when Iowa has more Republicans this year than in 2016, shows you there [are] a lot of our voters who have checked out,” he said.

The turnout problem could have been attributed to sub-zero temperatures, freezing wind chill and snow in Iowa during the state’s Republican Party caucus, but DeSantis chose to blame voters for failing to give him the support needed to defeat frontrunner Trump.

Florida governor Ron DeSantis, who once was a top candidate in the 2024 Republican presidential race, has a forlorn expression on his face as he stands in front of the red and white stripes of the US flag
Ron DeSantis tried to get his ‘war on woke’, which gained him support in Florida, into the White House – but it ultimately failed. (Getty)

He claimed people didn’t “want to see Trump nominated again”, but they have been told so often “that it was inevitable” that they gave in.

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“They’re just like: ‘You know what, we’re doing this again’ and they checked out,” he added.

“It’s a huge warning sign for Republicans, nationally, based on what we saw in Iowa.”

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DeSantis consistently underwhelmed on the campaign trail, especially when compared with Trump.

The governor’s obsession with his “war on woke”, attacks on the LGBTQ+ community, push to ban books in schools and attempts to lambast Disney might have turned off voters. However, he didn’t mention any of that in the interview. 

After DeSantis dropped out of the race, Trump comfortably won the New Hampshire primary this week, cementing his grip on the Republican presidential nomination.

However, rival Nikki Haley has refused to concede, insisting that the “race is far from over”.

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