Nikki Haley is not tiptoeing through the 2024 campaign.
She’s running in heels.
And lately she’s been racing Ron DeSantis.
A year ago, the Florida governor had a huge victory. He had just won the Florida governor’s race by 20 points, with some of his most fervent support coming from Democratic strongholds in the state. After the decisive victory, which DeSantis called a “win for the ages,” he was viewed as the most probable and successful challenger to former President Donald Trump.
Now, he’s tied for a distant second place with Haley and defending against rumors that he wears boot lifts.
Ron DeSantis and his ‘standard, off-the-rack Lucchese boots’
Haley was asked Wednesday during an interview with “The Daily Show” host Charlamagne tha God if she plans to wear high heels at the Miami debate Nov. 8 to appear taller than DeSantis.
“I don’t know. We’ll have to figure that out,” she said. “I can tell you I’ve always talked about my high heels. I’ve never hid that from anybody. I’ve always said, ‘Don’t wear them if you can’t run in them.’ So we’ll see if he can run in them.”
Haley said when she wears heels, “it’s not for a fashion statement.”
“It’s because if I get mad, you know, I’m ready to kick anytime,” she said, adding that she fights for what she believes in and campaigns on telling hard truths.
DeSantis in a PBD Podcast interview Monday said he is not wearing lifts and described his shoes as “standard, off-the-rack Lucchese boots.”
As the 2024 GOP primary ramps up, and the attacks between Haley and DeSantis grow more vicious, DeSantis repeatedly denying claims that he’s getting a little help with his height is emblematic of his shrinking political stock.
A recent USA TODAY/Suffolk Poll shows Haley and DeSantis nearly tied across the nation, and a new Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom Iowa Poll shows them even in the first caucus state.
On Friday, DeSantis visited his 85th county in Iowa, which has 99 altogether, saying during a Fox News interview he’s still the best candidate to defeat Trump.
“There’s a lot of people who haven’t made up their mind,” DeSantis said, optimistically predicting voters would start paying closer attention to the election in January and pick his campaign then. And when they do, he said they’ll see he’s a proven winner.
While the Florida governor tries to reclaim the stature he had a year ago as the top candidate to defeat Trump, something hasn’t changed since last November: the former president is still the GOP frontrunner.
And while Haley and social media sleuths debate the nuances of DeSantis and his height in Lucchese boots, Trump continues to benefit from a crowded field in which his challengers battle each other for second place.