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DeSantis surrogate says ‘we never had high expectations’ for New Hampshire, ‘real fight’ in South Carolina

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As support for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in New Hampshire’s upcoming Republican presidential primary appeared to dwindle in recent polling, a surrogate for DeSantis on Sunday waved off the polls, saying “the real fight” would be hashed out in the South Carolina primary.

Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., appeared on “Fox News Sunday” and was asked whether the two new polls showing DeSantis trailing former President Trump and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley was the reason why the governor canceled a round of appearances on the Sunday show circuit.

“We never had high expectations for New Hampshire anyway,” Massie responded. “And Nikki’s exploiting a quirk of their primary, which is that undeclareds, i.e. Democrats, can vote in a Republican primary.”

“The real fight, I think, is in South Carolina,” he continued. “And that’s where Nikki Haley, I think, stumbles. She’s going to miss expectations and not even win her own state.”

DESANTIS CANCELS NBC, CNN APPEARANCES SUNDAY OVER SCHEDULING ISSUE AHEAD OF NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARY

Two new polls released Sunday morning show DeSantis in a distant third behind Trump and Haley in New Hampshire.

A University of New Hampshire/CNN poll showed Trump at 50%, Haley grabbing 39% support and DeSantis trailing in the single digits with 6%.

TRUMP LEAD OVER HALEY EXPANDS IN CLOSING DAYS BEFORE NEW HAMPSHIRE GOP PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY

Meanwhile, a daily tracking poll released by Suffolk University, the Boston Globe and NBC10 in Boston showed Trump edging up to 55%, while Haley stood at 36% and DeSantis at 6%.

The new surveys indicate that Haley took majority support among independents, who are known as undeclared voters in New Hampshire. Independents can vote in either major party’s contest, and have long played an influential role in the state’s storied presidential primary.

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With the New Hampshire Republican primary set for Tuesday, DeSantis has already begun to shift his focus to Haley’s home state of South Carolina, where he was campaigning over the weekend.

Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

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