Once a promising candidate to lead the Republican Party to victory in 2024, Ron DeSantis seems to be losing steam on the campaign trail.
Ron DeSantis: No Longer Florida’s Favorite
Even those who have been applauding the governor in Florida may be losing affection for their leader in the face of his wilting campaign.
According to an article in Politico, interviews with nearly two dozen lobbyists, political consultants, and lawmakers revealed that DeSantis’s struggles as a presidential candidate have eroded his influence in Florida.
The website cited sources they say were granted anonymity in order to share the sensitive details regarding Republican sentiments toward DeSantis in Florida.
On the record, State Rep. Daniel Perez, the Miami Republican in line to become the next state House speaker, seemed to encourage Republicans to distance themselves from the hardline governor saying, “The problem with wielding the power of government like a hammer is that the people start looking like nails.”
A major lobbyist in Tallahassee said, “There’s no love lost between the Legislature and DeSantis … They are faking it. They are waiting long enough to see the king drained of all his power. It’s a slow-motion coup.”
Other Republicans continue to support DeSantis publicly. State Rep. Alex Andrade, a Pensacola Republican who endorsed DeSantis during his gubernatorial campaign, said, “He’s still a very effective governor, he’s the most effective governor I have had a front seat to watch.”
She added, “I see him as governor. I couldn’t care less what is going on nationally.”
Ron DeSantis Poll Numbers Drop
DeSantis’s numbers are dropping in the GOP primary and have not budged much since the first debate. Just a day before the second GOP primary debate, De Santis sits 42 points below strong front runner, Donald Trump, in the polls.
Even more importantly, in a head-to-head battle against President Joe Biden DeSantis is now losing, whereas earlier in the race, voters were considering him as a good option to beat the current President. In contrast, Donald Trump now leads Biden in a hypothetical general election matchup by five, and up to, ten points. If Republicans are looking ahead to an ultimate victory in 2024, which they should be doing, Trump does seem to be the better bet.
Trump Senses Weakness
Trump’s campaign sees the opportunity to “put the nail in DeSantis’s campaign coffin,” according to another Politico article.
The former President and his team are increasing their efforts in Iowa, hoping to win over voters and effectively end the Florida governor’s bid, and at the same time send a message to the other campaigns to pack it up and go home.
DeSantis’s decline, along with Governor Gavin Newsom’s potential rise as a Democrat candidate, may have pushed the scheduling of the much-touted gubernatorial debate between the two state leaders. It was announced earlier this week that the 90-minute debate will take place on Nov. 30 and air on Fox during Hannity’s 9 p.m. prime-time program.
The duel will certainly highlight the importance of state governance and contrast the two styles of leadership between two of the country’s largest states.
Many see it as a desperate attempt by DeSantis to bolster his favorability and help give a shot in the arm to a campaign that seems to be on life support.
Despite his disastrous policies, Newsom will prove to be a formidable challenge for Florida’s governor. Although 12 years his senior, Newsom is seen as young compared to the President and is as polished and skilled in argument as the often combative DeSantis.
The event will make for fun political theater. Whether or not it will serve to propel DeSantis to leading man status remains to be seen.
Jennifer Galardi is the politics and culture editor and opinion writer for 19FortyFive.com. She has a Master’s in Public Policy from Pepperdine University and produces and hosts the podcast Connection with conversations that address health, culture, politics, and policy. In a previous life, she wrote for publications in the health, fitness, and nutrition space. In addition, her pieces have been published in the Epoch Times and Pepperdine Policy Review. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.
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