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DeSantis exits presidential race, potentially boosting Nikki Haley’s support among anti-Trump Jewish Republicans

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(JTA) — Ron DeSantis’ decision to end his presidential campaign leaves Nikki Haley as the only serious challenger to Donald Trump, potentially consolidating her support among Jewish voters and donors who seek an alternative to the former president.

DeSantis announced his exit on Sunday after he came in a distant second last week in Iowa, the first nominating contest in the Republican primaries. The announcement capped a campaign in which the Florida governor was initially seen as the most serious threat to Trump but saw his support steadily decline as the primaries neared.

He had long staked out positions popular among pro-Israel conservatives and repeatedly traveled to Israel to demonstrate his support.  He has also aggressively taken on culture-war positions, including about abortion, LGBTQ rights and book bans, that have traditionally not resonated as much with Jewish voters. At one point, his campaign fired an aide who made a video promoting him that featured a Nazi symbol.

He has thrown his support behind Trump.

Haley, the former South Carolina governor and Trump’s first ambassador to the United Nations, who has close ties to the pro-Israel establishment, has been a favorite among Jewish and pro-Israel donors who want to avoid a second Trump-Biden matchup in November. She garnered more support than any other candidate from the leadership of the Republican Jewish Coalition, according to a Haaretz report last summer, and multiple prominent Jewish Republicans have organized fundraisers on her behalf.

Whether those fundraisers take place will likely depend on the outcome in New Hampshire. Trump currently has a double-digit lead in polls. After his decisive win in Iowa, he said during his victory speech that he would end the current conflict in Israel “very fast” if he becomes president, without elaborating on how he would do so.

This article originally appeared on JTA.org.

The post DeSantis exits presidential race, potentially boosting Nikki Haley’s support among anti-Trump Jewish Republicans appeared first on The Forward.

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