Ron Desantis

After a resounding Florida win, momentum and planning for DeSantis 2024 bid take off

Amid growing talk about his political future, and in the face of recent outbursts directed at Donald Trump’s way, Florida Governor. Ron DeSantis was not known for speculation or mudslinging. He insists that a victory in his second-term bid was necessary before any discussion about 2024.

That statement was made Tuesday night with a 19-point landslide victory over Democrat Charlie Crist – Florida’s most lopsided win by a Republican gubernatorial candidate and a gap that dwarfed Trump’s win in 2020. DeSantis’ Tampa election party burst into joy as the fullness and breadth of his triumphant performance began to manifest. DeSantis had made once-solidly blue counties turn red, won over a majority of Latino voters, and continued to carry his coattails, Republican nominees, up and down the ballot in every corner of the state.

DeSantis stated to his supporters, “We not only won the election, but we have rewritten history in politics,” before confetti fell on his family and him. A crowd of people encouraged him to think about a White House bid, chanting “Two More Years!”

Republicans were happy with the outcome in Florida. They had been waiting for a red tide to arrive and watching Trump-backed candidates fail in key battlegrounds. The GOP’s reaction has only fueled DeSantis’ momentum to run for president next year and take on Trump head-on.

“DeFuture” was the headline on Wednesday’s front page of The New York Post owned by Rupert Murdoch, a conservative media mogul.

The result in Miami-Dade County with a Latino majority was particularly encouraging for Republicans. DeSantis won 55% of the vote. This is because it could indicate that the governor can communicate and engage with Latino communities across the country. In two decades, the county had not seen a GOP gubernatorial nominee. A poll by exit showed that DeSantis had an 18-point advantage over Crist among Florida Latino voters. This is a reverse of his four-year-old campaign for governor.

Florida’s DeSantis aides are already discussing what the next step is. There was a strong feeling among his circle that DeSantis would launch a presidential campaign, regardless of whether Trump did. Multiple sources claim that DeSantis has suggested to donors in recent months that Trump’s divisiveness makes it difficult to implement conservative priorities. This is a significant shift in the way that DeSantis has been discussing his former ally.

More Republicans are voicing concern that the former president’s influence is slowing down the GOP after Tuesday. A source close to DeSantis’ political operations said that he expected the governor would make a decision soon after January’s inauguration, although he might not publicly announce it.

According to the source, DeSantis “must act” and capitalize upon Trump’s midterm setback.

The timing of a 2024 campaign start, if it does happen, is still uncertain. When news broke that Trump planned to launch his presidential campaign in mid-November, many in DeSantis’ circle feared a rapid turnaround from the midterm election to a presidential primary fight. According to consultants in Florida, DeSantis won’t officially jump into the presidential race until state legislators meet for their annual legislative session. This would place DeSantis in a time frame of either a May or June announcement.

“Build anticipation,” said a long-time Republican fundraiser who knew about DeSantis’ operation. “I believe DeSantis controls time. He controls the time frame, even though everyone can anticipate things and wants to move fast.

Even people who have access to DeSantis warn that he is not yet ready to decide on his future. They say he has kept a close circle of friends and family as he considers his options. The brain trust of the governor is small. The brain trust is made up of Casey and him. Sources say that the DeSantises are also acutely aware of the window he has to move in 2024. It widened on Tuesday but may not remain open forever.

One GOP pollster stated that “You have a second” before Election Day. “Something could happen in a second term that knocks him down.”

Spring red meat planning

Multiple sources claim that DeSantis will organize a legislative session that includes conservative priorities. This would allow him to carry them into the GOP presidential primary. The supermajority of Republicans in Florida’s legislature on Tuesday allowed DeSantis the opportunity to fulfill his promises to restrict abortion and allow public firearm ownership.

A GOP consultant stated that the legislative session would be “as red meat and as delicious as you can imagine”. “Whatever he proposes they will pass it and it will become law.”

According to the Republican fundraiser, “anything ‘woken’ they can find to murder within their path, that’s what they’re going do.” He also predicted that DeSantis would target financial institutions this spring.

DeSantis will keep building out a political organization that has proven it can raise money at a rapid pace. According to state campaign finance reports, he raised more than $200 million for his reelection campaign. He drew money from both deep-pocketed donors as well as grassroots Republicans to break all national fundraising records. These two committees still had $66 million in unexpended cash as of November 3. As previously reported, DeSantis’ political staff has been looking into how to transfer the money into a federal committee that could help a presidential campaign. Sources confirmed that this plan is still in place.

To raise money and expand his brand, he is expected to continue to travel to the state for political purposes. DeSantis, who had avoided public events outside Florida during his first term, for the most part, took the calculated risk to organize rallies for Republican candidates in the most closely contested races for the US Senate and governor. He continued to travel until the 10th day before the election.

DeSantis remained focused on midterm battlegrounds and avoided early nominating states where appearances could set off the national buzz. Stephen Stepanek is the chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party. He said that DeSantis’ political operations turned down numerous requests to address voters in those states and that the state GOP had had “virtually zero contact with the governor”. Stepanek also predicted that Trump would be defeated in New Hampshire’s first primary. Trump’s win in the 2016 New Hampshire primaries was the catalyst for his winning the GOP nomination.

Stepanek stated that people have not only their 2020 signs still out but also 2024 signs. It’s still Trump’s country in New Hampshire.

“When people bring up DeSantis, I bring up Scott Walker.”

DeSantis faces a difficult task in winning over GOP primary voters, whose loyalty has

not wavered despite the tailwinds of Tuesday.

The Republicans at home are split but appear to be favoring DeSantis. According to preliminary results from the Florida exit poll and other news channels by Edison Research, 33% of Florida voters would like to see Trump run for re-election in 2024. However, 45% of Florida voters said DeSantis should go for it.

JC Martin, chairman of the Polk County Republican Party said that it would be a waste to put up against Trump since he “still has a lot to do in Florida and he is a shoo-in for 2028.”

Martin stated, “I don’t want to see an all-out party war at the next primary.”

Shawn Foster, Pasco County Republican state committeeman, stated that the GOP needs a “new face”, and he hopes that it will be DeSantis.

Foster stated, “I believe the party needs it and I think independents will look more for it.”

DeSantis should not be perceived as peaking too early, which is a trap for many GOP stars before him.

“When people bring up DeSantis now, I bring up Scott Walker,” Bob Vander Plaats said earlier this year. He is an influential conservative leader in Iowa’s early nominating states, drawing comparisons with the former Wisconsin governor, who was a favorite early in 2016 before his campaign stalled.

DeSantis’ agenda, like Walker, has won over conservative editorial boards as well as Beltway think tanks. DeSantis enjoys having to confront reporters and has a bratty style that is similar to Chris Christie’s in New Jersey. He has created a fundraising machine rivaling Florida’s Jeb bush.

All of the past governors had presidential ambitions. Trump has crushed their dreams.

One Republican consultant in Florida stated that “if you enter a presidential primary alongside Donald Trump and think you’re going to kick his ass, you’ve got another thing coming.”

Trump publicly criticized DeSantis during the last days of the midterm election cycle, while privately stewing about the disloyalty of a former political disciple. At an event in Pennsylvania, Trump called DeSantis “Ron DeSanctimonious”. He also held a rally two days before the election in Miami without inviting the governor of his home state.

DeSantis refused to engage and instead held competing rallies along Florida’s other coast.

DeSantis will have to make it harder for him to keep from talking about Trump and 2024 over the coming weeks, although he might still try. DeSantis was hoarse due to a difficult closing campaign schedule, election night celebrations, and a press conference on Wednesday morning to inform Floridians about Tropical Storm Nicole.

DeSantis did not mention the election results. DeSantis also left without answering any questions.

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