Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is poised to finish second in the Iowa GOP caucus, while former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley is poised for third place, according to a projection from Decision Desk HQ.
DeSantis’s second-place finish comes after the Florida governor invested heavily in the Hawkeye State.
His performance in Iowa was seen as make-or-break, and recent polling had shown Haley edging past him.
Both candidates were eclipsed, however, by former President Trump, who as of this publication had just over 50 percent of the vote.
Prior to the results, an average of Iowa surveys by Decision Desk HQ and The Hill found Trump at 53 percent, Haley at 18 percent and DeSantis at 15 percent.
Both an Emerson College Polling survey and a poll from NBC News/Des Moines Register/Medicom showed Trump in first place, while Haley notched second place.
Meanwhile, an Insider Advantage poll showed Haley and DeSantis tied for second.
Some experts had warned that if DeSantis placed third in Iowa, he might effectively have to drop out of the race.
“The question is really does DeSantis drop out? I think that’s the only big question that’s gonna be answered,” Andrew Smith, director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center and a professor of practice in political science at the university, told The Hill ahead of the Iowa caucus.
“I don’t think he’s gonna win, but if he finishes a distant third, he’s gonna drop out. I mean, he has nowhere to go after that,” Smith added.
However, DeSantis’s campaign still faces questions around viability heading into New Hampshire and South Carolina. An average of New Hampshire polls from Decision Desk HQ and The Hill showed DeSantis in third at almost 7 percent, while Decision Desk HQ’s and The Hill’s average of South Carolina polls shows DeSantis in third at over 9 percent, trailing Haley in second at 25 percent.