DeSantis & Haley Fight Tooth And Nail For Presidency

In a highly anticipated head-to-head debate, Republican presidential contenders Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley are set to clash as they vie for the title of the clear alternative to frontrunner Donald Trump in the race for the party’s White House nomination.

With Trump holding 49 percent support among Republicans in a recent nationwide Reuters/Ipsos poll, DeSantis and Haley face an uphill battle to halt his march toward the nomination. However, recent polls have shown Haley closing the gap in New Hampshire, the second state to pick its Republican candidate, while DeSantis lags in fourth place. In Iowa, where the first Republican nominating contest will occur, the two candidates are tied for second.

With other candidates failing to qualify for the debate stage, this prime-time event in Des Moines, Iowa, will provide the perfect platform for Haley, the former United Nations ambassador, and DeSantis, the governor of Florida, to draw sharp contrasts between themselves. The stakes are high as they compete for second place in Iowa, hoping to position themselves as the sole contender against Trump.

The winner of the Republican nomination will face President Joe Biden in the November election, with recent Reuters/Ipsos polling showing Trump and Biden in a tie at 35 percent.

“The debate will be their last and best chance to tell Iowa caucus-goers why they deserve to be the alternative to former President Trump and why they should have a head-to-head shot at him,” said Jimmy Centers, an Iowa-based Republican strategist.

While Trump will not be participating in the debate, he will simultaneously hold a rival town hall event on Fox News in Des Moines. Trump’s campaign in Iowa has been more organized and well-staffed than his 2016 effort when he placed second to Senator Ted Cruz. Instead of smaller gatherings, Trump has opted for large rallies, using these events to gather personal information for follow-up calls and texts to rally supporters for the caucuses.

Meanwhile, DeSantis is banking on a solid showing in Iowa, having visited all 99 counties and wooing evangelical Christian voters, a significant voting bloc in the state. Haley, on the other hand, is pitching her pragmatic approach to issues like abortion and her hawkish foreign policy as a contrast to the more isolationist stance of Trump and DeSantis.