Is Ron DeSantis Back?: The Florida governor has been somewhat written off, even though he has yet to announce a White House run officially. But DeSantis got a run of good press from his weekend visit to Iowa.
Ron DeSantis: Don’t Give Up On Him Yet….
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who late in 2022 looked like he had all the momentum towards a possible dethroning of former President Trump and the eventual Republican nomination, has been teetering now for several months.
The New York Times, late last week, laid out what happened.
There were Trump’s nonstop attacks on the Florida governor, and DeSantis’ decision to not respond to most of them. DeSantis has rarely spoken with the mainstream press, and as Trump widened the gap in the polls, the former president has gained a great deal more endorsements.
His long war with Disney has been met with serious pushback. And as Memorial Day approaches, DeSantis still hasn’t declared that he’s actually running, instead opting to finish up Florida’s legislative sessions prior to announcing.
“Allies have abandoned him,” the Times said. Tales of his icy interpersonal touch have spread. Donors have groused. And a legislative session in Tallahassee designed to burnish his conservative credentials has instead coincided with a drop in the polls… his central electability pitch — MAGA without the mess — has been badly bruised.”
The Times story did state that DeSantis is looking to retool, as he approaches an official campaign launch. And DeSantis does have about $100 million in his campaign war chest.
This weekend, per the Times, DeSantis headed to Iowa and achieved a rare coup: Audiences in the early caucus state of Iowa seemed to respond well to him – and Trump did not make his scheduled trip to Iowa, canceling a rally due to weather conditions.
Ron DeSantis even made an unscheduled stop in Des Moines, where Trump had been scheduled to appear, and noted that the weather wasn’t bad there at all. Trump went on to call into the QAnon-adjacent “Reawaken America” rally, hosted by his former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
The Florida governor did get in some digs at his opponent.
DeSantis also appeared with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and Sen. Jodi Ernst, although neither endorsed him for president.
“If we make this election about a referendum on Joe Biden and his failed policies, and we provide a positive alternative to take America in a new direction, I think Republicans will win across the board,” Ron DeSantis said at a fundraiser in Iowa, per the newspaper, implying that a Trump general election campaign would be mostly about Trump himself, as opposed to Biden.
“For the first time in months, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Saturday showed the aggressive political instincts that his allies have long insisted he would demonstrate in a contest against former President Donald J. Trump,” the Times said.
The most recent Morning Consult tracking poll of the Republican primary contest, taken May 9, Trump leads with 60 percent support, followed by DeSantis with 19 percent. Mike Pence and Vivek Ramaswamy each have 5 percent, followed by Nikki Haley with 3 percent, Liz Cheney with 2 percent, and several other candidates with 1 percent.
It is DeSantis’ lowest number to date in that survey. The poll also found that President Biden leads DeSantis by four points in a potential general election contest.
“Rob DeSanctimonious and his poll numbers are dropping like a rock – I would almost be inclined to say, these are record ‘falls,’ Trump said on Truth Social Sunday. “The question: Is ‘Rob’ just young, inexperienced, and naive or, more troubling, is he a fool who has no idea what he is doing. We already have one of those in office, we don’t need another one. MAGA!”
Trump commented further on DeSantis Monday in an interview with the new news outlet The Messenger.
“If you look at what DeSantis did, a lot of people don’t even know if he knew what he was doing. But he signed six weeks, and many people within the pro-life movement feel that that was too harsh,” Trump said.
Expertise and Experience
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.