Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley are becoming more and more competitive for the second spot in the GOP race. DeSantis wants to have a debate between them and no one else, but it hasn't been approved by the Republican National Committee yet, and Haley hasn't agreed to it either. This focus on each other is different from talking about former President Donald Trump, who is still generally seen as the frontrunner.
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Christie, the former governor of New Jersey and another primary candidate, says that DeSantis and Haley are competing with each other for second place, while he is positioning himself as the only one running against Trump. Christie has been very vocal about his dislike of Trump, saying that running against him is the only way for the Republicans to get the nod for president.
DeSantis and Haley have had many disagreements, such as their views on the conflict between Israel and Hamas, their ties to China, and Haley's plan to require social media users to be verified. DeSantis said Haley's idea was not only bad, but also against the Constitution. He said she was pushing for a ban on private speech online, like China does. It might seem easier for them to criticize each other than to face Trump directly, but if they get too harsh, they could lose Trump's most loyal followers.
Both camps play down their fight by saying that Trump sees them as a threat. DeSantis's campaign has been harsher on Trump and even started a "Trump Accident Tracker" to keep track of his mistakes. People who back DeSantis see this as proof that Trump sees him as a bigger threat than Haley. Haley's team, on the other hand, says she has enough support and polling to beat both Trump and President Joe Biden. New polls show that Haley is doing well against Biden in some key states, but Trump still has a big lead across the country.
Gregg Keller, a Republican consultant, thinks that Haley and DeSantis might be aiming for second place because they think that Trump's legal problems will make the runner-up the automatic candidate. Trump is being charged with multiple crimes, so either DeSantis or Haley could make a strong case to replace him if he can't properly be the GOP nominee. But GOP analyst Caleb Shumaker says that Trump's opponents won't be able to catch up to him in the polls or raise enough money, even if they all support the same candidate. Trump is still the favorite, even though DeSantis, Haley, and other candidates are trying hard.