Ahead of the governor’s race in November, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis enjoys a number of advantages.
He has a bank account with more than $100 million, a rising Republican voting edge statewide, and is incredibly popular among the conservative base.
Support From Trump
The support of previous President Trump is something DeSantis neither needs nor wants.
DeSantis has not and will not contact Trump for formal support, according to four people with connections to the governor and past president.
It’s evident that DeSantis, who less than four years ago was an obscure representative from northeast Florida, advanced greatly inside the GOP.
DeSantis is hesitant to ask for the previous president’s endorsement in public as he gears up for a likely 2024 White House campaign, even if Trump does too. This might lead to a confrontation between the two prominent Republicans.
According to Anthony Pedicini, a seasoned Republican strategist in Florida, “[DeSantis is] a Cat 5 storm in Florida politics and in a positive manner if you are a conservative.” He is a natural power.
Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.), who abandoned his race to Trump-backed state Representative Russell Fry, has been targeted by Trump for his support of members who voted to impeach him during the Capitol riot on January 6.
Trump’s support can make and break a politician, but this election year, his influence diminished in some contests.
For instance, in Georgia, Republican stalwarts Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger defeated the contenders who backed the former president’s efforts to annul the election results.
However, DeSantis’ position as the frontrunner in Florida amongst his Florida fans would probably not be altered by a Trump endorsement. He has consistently outperformed his Democratic opponents in polls.
DeSantis even outperformed Trump in straw polls conducted in Wisconsin, Nevada, and at the yearly Western Conservative Conference.
The Grey Area
DeSantis’ reelection campaign spokeswoman Dave Abrams declined to comment upon whether the governor is looking for Trump’s support.
If DeSantis sought his backing, “he would endorse him,” according to a source familiar with Trump’s approval procedure who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Several Florida conservatives on the ballot this year, notably Sen. Marco Rubio, State Attorney General Ashley Moody, and Chief Finance Director Jimmy Patronis, statewide officials without primary rivals, have already received Trump’s endorsement.
The rejection of Trump’s support by DeSantis marks a significant change from four years ago.
When he ran against Adam Putnam, a then-commissioner, in 2018, DeSantis was considered a long shot. Putnam had financial advantages and support from establishment Republicans.
Though when DeSantis received significant support from Trump prior to the primary, he upended the entire contest. DeSantis even aired a well-known television commercial in which he was shown reading “The Art of the Deal” by Trump to one of his children.