- Gov. Ron DeSantis has secured 10 new endorsements from South Carolina officials who previously supported Sen. Tim Scott.
- The support increases DeSantis’ total number of endorsements in South Carolina to 68, which is the most among Republican presidential candidates.
- Despite the influx of endorsements, DeSantis trails behind Donald Trump and Nikki Haley in South Carolina GOP primary polls, ranking third with 12 percent support.
Gov. Ron DeSantis this week secured 10 endorsements from South Carolina (SC) officials who previously backed Sen. Tim Scott, who dropped out of the race last weekend, strengthening his bid for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
DeSantis’ new endorsers include SC Representative Tom Hartnett Jr., SC Representative Bill Taylor, Hampton Mayor Robert Brown, Berkeley County Clerk of Court Leah Guerry Dupree, Greenville County Coroner B. Parks Evans Jr., Dorchester County Councilman Todd Friddle, Barnwell City Councilman Jimbo Moody, James Island Town Councilman Troy Mullinax, Mount Pleasant Town Councilman Carl Ritchie, and Laurens County Soil & Water Commissioner Patrick Jackson.
The flurry of support brings DeSantis’ number of official endorsements in the Palmetto State to 68, the most among all remaining candidates, and 330 state-level endorsements in total.
“Ron DeSantis is the leader we need for this exact moment. He not only is the only candidate who I know can win, but he will be president who will follow through on his promises to reverse the decline of our country,” said Harnett Jr.
Despite the momentum, DeSantis lags considerably in South Carolina GOP Primary polls, trailing both Former President Donald Trump and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. The latest Winthrop Poll shows that DeSantis holds just 12 percent of the support among South Carolina’s Republican registered voters, placing third behind Trump’s 52 percent support margin and Haley’s 17 percent.
“Haley continues her steady lead over DeSantis for the distant second choice among South Carolina Republicans,” said poll Director Scott Huffmon in a release. “Scott had clawed his way to low double-digit support in South Carolina, but this still had him in a distant fourth place, although he was gaining on DeSantis.”
Moreover, a confidential memo obtained and reported on by Axios shows Trump-aligned pollster Tony Fabrizio speculating that Haley stands to gain much more than DeSantis following Scott’s departure.
“Despite the narrative that the DeSantis team is trying to push, it’s clear that other candidates dropping out is not causing voters to consolidate around him, wrote Fabrizio. “For instance, when Scott voters were asked who their 2nd choice was, Nikki Haley was the number one choice at 43 percent, followed by Trump at 22 percent, and then DeSantis, with only 16 percent.”
DeSantis has been particularly aggressive in early primary states like Iowa — where he received the endorsement of Gov. Kim Reynolds — and South Carolina in a bid to build early momentum. The past months have seen the Florida governor make a series of media appearances, including a scheduled return on Dec. 1 to receive the ‘Patriot Award’ from the Citadel Republican Society. DeSantis’ campaign also touts future campaign events within the state.
The South Carolina Republican presidential primary is scheduled to take place on Feb. 24, 2024.