DeSantis Adviser Continues Campaign’s Sharp Attack on Haley

A top adviser to Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida on Friday accused Nikki Haley of “greed” as a candidate, saying that she’s trying to damage him to help former President Donald J. Trump in the Iowa caucuses.

The comments from David Polyansky, Mr. DeSantis’s deputy campaign manager, came at an event hosted by Bloomberg News on Friday in downtown Des Moines, as the blizzard buffeting the city forced the campaign to cancel some events later in the day — though Mr. Polyansky said that Mr. DeSantis’s ground game was best equipped for the brutal weather barreling.

He was joined by the campaign’s spokesman, Andrew Romeo, and its pollster, Ryan Tyson, but he did most of the talking. He said that Ms. Haley is running in Iowa to draw votes toward Mr. Trump and siphon them away from Mr. DeSantis.

Mr. Polyansky also repeated Mr. DeSantis’s claim that Ms. Haley, the former South Carolina governor, is running to be Mr. Trump’s vice-presidential pick, and criticized her for not ruling out joining a Trump ticket.

Her donors’ dollars “are essentially in-kind contributions to Donald Trump,” he said. “Competition is trying to win. Competition isn’t trying to help one of your opponents,” he said.

Olivia Perez-Cubas, a spokeswoman for Ms. Haley, said that Mr. DeSantis would “say anything to distract from his flailing campaign” after “burning through $150 million in Iowa and losing half his support in the polls.” She added, “Nikki is the only Trump alternative candidate with the resources and momentum to go the distance.”

Mr. DeSantis has been bludgeoned by ads from both Mr. Trump’s world and Ms. Haley’s. But Mr. Trump’s team has also aired attack ads against Ms. Haley.

Mr. DeSantis has been battling to hold onto second place in a state in which he had once banked his candidacy on and in which aides had predicted privately last fall that he would win easily. Mr. Polyansky described the campaign as “joyful,” and said the candidate and the team are having “fun.”

He declined to answer when the campaign last conducted a poll. Mr. Tyson, seated two seats away from him, also answered few questions.

Mr. Polyansky insisted that the volunteer operation and the work by the DeSantis team — whose field operation has been conducted mostly by a super PAC, Never Back Down — would be critical if temperatures are below zero, as expected, on Monday. But he also said that he could not predict the turnout.

“I don’t know how to measure it anymore, I don’t,” he said. The Trump team, he added, claims “they’ve got a great organization and maybe they do.”

He added, We’ll find out on Monday night.”

Mr. Polyansky insisted that Mr. DeSantis will be in New Hampshire on Tuesday, and maintained that he planned to remain in the race through South Carolina’s primary on Feb. 24.

He also said that Mr. DeSantis, who has been criticized even among conservatives for not taking a fight more directly to Mr. Trump, has been going straight at the front-runner for months. Yet Mr. Polyansky’s toughest attacks during the Bloomberg meeting focused on Ms. Haley.

Mr. Tyson, a long-serving adviser to Mr. DeSantis, was asked Friday what happened to his camp after the Florida governor’s re-election victory last year, when he had seemed poised to potentially overtake Mr. Trump.

“I don’t really have an answer for that,” Mr. Tyson said. When asked if he wished that Mr. DeSantis had waited until 2028 to run for president, he said that he stood by Mr. DeSantis.

“I don’t have any second thoughts on that,” Mr. Tyson said.

He added, “Doing this second-guessing thing, I just don’t feel is appropriate for me,” during what he described as an “unprecedented atmosphere.” And he said: “I don’t think that’s helpful.”

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