There have been pervasive rumors about potential GOP challengers to Donald Trump in the 2024 election, but, so far, very few pieces of concrete evidence of such a possibility have arrived.
Perhaps the most talked-about possibility has been Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has played coy when confronted with the idea. This, despite the fact that DeSantis has traveled to Utah to meet with Republican mega-donors, and the reality of his new, nationally-minded PR strategy.
This week, however, all doubt about the Sunshine State lawmaker’s plans was erased.
Former President Donald Trump’s hold over the Republican party remained at a rally that he did not attend in Phoenix over the weekend as some of the biggest candidates in the 2022 cycle decried the FBI search on Mar-a-Lago.
“I really anticipate that the state of Florida will be the one to get the election wave off the ground,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said during his roughly 46-minute appearance at an event for Arizona Senate nominee Blake Masters and gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake.
DeSantis, who is up for reelection in 2022, came in second in a recent CPAC straw poll for the 2024 presidential election, 45 points behind Trump – although the poll was taken before the FBI search. But when Trump was taken out of the poll, DeSantis was in the lead.
DeSantis’ visit to Arizona in particular, a perennial presidential battleground former president Donald Trump narrowly lost in 2020, comes after multiple polls show DeSantis as the second pick for most GOP voters for president in 2024, behind Trump.
But attendees in Phoenix gave raucous applause to the southeast governor as he ticked through his COVID-19 response, his criticisms of Mr. Biden, and a string of controversial bills he passed related toabout gender identity and sexuality from kindergarten through the third grade.
DeSantis may still be refusing to admit that he’s preparing to run for President, but his actions certainly speak louder than his nonexistent words on the subject.