DeSantis Agrees To One-On-One Debate With Haley

Following months of declining polling numbers, presidential candidate Gov. Ron DeSantis is seeking any opportunity to keep his name in the news. Conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham offered her Fox News show as a platform for a one-on-one debate with former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. DeSantis responded on X, posting, “Count me in!” Haley has not responded.

Haley is contending for the GOP nomination and has seen her polling numbers rising. Once a distant third behind DeSantis and former President Donald Trump, Haley is emerging as a potential alternative. Both DeSantis and Haley continue to trail far behind Trump in favorability polls.

Haley’s recent surge is most apparent in New Hampshire. The state recently defied Democrats by setting its presidential primary as the first in the nation. New Hampshire traditionally has held that spot, but Democrats hoping to reward South Carolina for efforts to secure the state for President Joe Biden in 2020 had sought to make that state first in the nation.

Polling in New Hampshire shows Haley as the only GOP candidate with the numbers to beat Biden. The most recent poll shows Haley with a 45% to 39% advantage in the state. Trump trails Biden in the state by five points. DeSantis has seen his favorability numbers tank since mid-summer. His performances in the debates have done nothing to boost his campaign.

Following the third Republican presidential debate, former Vice President Mike Pence and former South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott pulled the plug on their campaigns. Haley benefited more than any candidate and saw a surge in polling after a respectable performance in the debate. Trump, who currently has a favorability of 58% among Republicans, far outpaces Haley for the nomination. According to the latest polls from FiveThirtyEight, Haley sits at 9.4% nationally, while DeSantis is at 14.1%.

Even in his home state of Florida, DeSantis has seen his favorability plummet. In June, he was polling around 40% and was just two percent behind Trump. Since then, DeSantis has dropped to 20.3% while Haley has surged to 6.3% after spending most of the summer below one percent in the Sunshine State.

DeSantis has agreed to debate California Gov. Gavin Newsom later this month on Sean Hannity’s Fox News Channel show. Newsom is not officially running in the Democratic primary, but many political observers see him paving the path for a presidential run in 2028.

It is all but certain that Trump will take the nomination for the Republican party. The debates are more likely to establish who might make a solid running mate for Trump rather than produce a viable alternative. Even as numerous lawsuits have piled up against the former president, his popularity among Republican voters has remained strong and shows no signs of waning in the coming months.