Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) is revising his rhetoric and approach in response to indications that his bid for the presidency may be in jeopardy before it ever gets off the ground.
DeSantis had an early lead in the GOP presidential primary, outpolling former President Trump in head-to-head polls and piqued the curiosity of Republican voters and party insiders who were ready to see a new face lead the party.
However, there are indications that his momentum may be slowing down. He has been subjected to weeks of relentless attacks from Trump and his allies; he has come under fire from other Republicans for referring to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a “territorial dispute;” and recent polls indicate that his support in a fictitious GOP primary is declining.
RELATED: Polls Show Trump Increasingly Pulling Away from DeSantis to Dominate 2024 GOP Primary
For all the hype surrounding DeSantis, a Republican strategist who intends to support the Florida governor in the 2024 primary if he runs said, “I believe there’s still a lot of issues he needs to improve on.” “When you’re investigating this kind of thing, that’s natural. But I believe he needs to give his decision some more thought.
That already seems to be occurring to some extent.
DeSantis made multiple jabs at Trump in an interview with British television personality Piers Morgan last week, casting doubt on the former president’s moral integrity and dismissing one of Trump’s nick names for him, “Ron DeSanctimonious.” The Florida governor showed a new readiness to confront his former political donor more openly in the statements, which were some of his strongest accusations of Trump to far.
In the interview with Morgan, he also struck a different tone towards the conflict in Ukraine, calling Russian President Vladimir Putin a “war criminal” who “should be held to account.”
“I believe he has lofty goals. DeSantis said of Putin, “I think he’s antagonistic to the United States. “But I believe what we’ve seen is that he lacks the typical ability to achieve his goals. He is essentially a petrol station that also happens to have a lot of nuclear weapons.
DeSantis hasn’t declared his intention to run for president in 2024, but he has been preparing the basis for one. It is widely believed that he will do so once the Florida state legislature concludes its annual session in May. He has recently visited states with significant early voting populations, like Nevada and Iowa, to promote his new book and meet with GOP contributors.
Nevertheless, the frenzy of activity has also brought DeSantis into the sights of Trump, who is once again running for president and thinks he is the obvious candidate to receive the GOP nomination. This week, he released a rush of statements and social media posts criticizing the governor of Florida and painting him as a political con artist.
The truth is that Ron is an ordinary governor, but he is by far the finest in the nation in the area of public relations, where he easily ranks first. Yet, this is all a lie; however, we do not want Ron to become our president. Trump said this week in a statement.
Trump is attempting to ensure that DeSantis starts the contest on weakened ground, according to one strategist who supports the former president.
RELATED: DeSantis Charms GOP by Condemning ‘Leaks’ and ‘Palace Intrigue’
“Look, the donor class is aware of Ron DeSantis’ background and accomplishments. But many voters don’t,” the speaker asserted. “Donald Trump understands that he has the opportunity to define DeSantis before DeSantis has the opportunity to come forth and share his perspective.”
According to the strategist, everything may be going well so far. DeSantis’ support in a hypothetical Republican primary, according to a tracking survey by Morning Consult released this week, fell to 26 percent, which is a new low for the campaign since tracking started in December.
Meanwhile on Tuesday, a Monmouth University survey showed Trump leading DeSantis 41 percent to 27 percent, continuing the former governor’s months-long decline. In a December Monmouth poll, DeSantis received 39% of the vote versus Trump’s 26%.
Considering that the first primaries and caucuses of 2024 are still almost a year away, some Republicans have advised against placing too much value in current polling.
There is currently no need for DeSantis to change his present strategy for the 2024 election, according to Republican strategist Alex Conant, who worked on Sen. Marco Rubio’s (Fla.) 2016 presidential campaign. “He has his strategy and the essential thing is that he adheres to it,” Conant said.
According to Conant, Trump’s recent rise in the polls is not surprising given that the former president is potentially being indicted in New York and has tried to unite Republicans by portraying himself as a victim of political persecution. In the meantime, the boost DeSantis saw following his 19-point reelection victory in November has started to subside a bit.
“Because to his significant victory in Florida, [DeSantis] received a ton of media attention over the winter. Conant stated that Trump had that dismal campaign launch and all the negative headlines surrounding the midterm elections.
Conant continued, “Such incidents ultimately disappear from voters’ memories.” “You’d anticipate Trump’s numbers to increase given that he has been actively campaigning for the past month and that there has been some level of support for him. Yet most of it is meaningless. As news cycles last for two weeks, they might easily fall again.
RELATED: NBC’s Chuck Todd Upset That DeSantis is ‘Politicizing’ Communism By Having the Dangers Taught in Florida Schools
Even though DeSantis had a difficult week, he and his backers don’t appear to be slowing down. The governor of Florida will attend a fundraiser for the state GOP in New Hampshire the following month. Also, he’ll travel to crucial battleground states like Pennsylvania and Michigan.
Others of his supporters are intensifying their efforts as well in preparation for a potential presidential campaign.
Jeff Roe, a seasoned Republican strategist, was recently hired by a super PAC that was established earlier this month to promote DeSantis to run for office in 2024. Roe previously oversaw the 2016 presidential campaign of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and provided guidance for Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin’s successful 2021 bid for the governor’s office.
According to Conant, controlling the weekly news cycle is less important for DeSantis right now than making those kinds of preparations. At this point, you’ve got to win the invisible primary, Conant remarked. “Hiring top operatives, excluding rival candidates from the running.”
The most crucial issue at the moment is: Are you cultivating relationships? Are you assembling a group and keeping up your introductions to voters, he continued. Right now, you don’t need to be concerned with winning or losing weeks.
Reprinted with permission. View this story and more on WayneDupree.com.
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