Ron DeSantis’s Florida midterm win puts him on collision course with Trump for 2024


Florida Governor Ron DeSantis‘ landslide win on Tuesday night elevated talk of a 2024 presidential bid and put him on a collision course with Donald Trump.

He defeated Democratic rival Charlie Crist by at least 19 points – a sharp contrast to his first race for governor four years ago, when he sketched out a victory by less than one percent. 

DeSantis, 44, has not indicated what his political future holds, but when his supporters chanted ‘two more years, two more years’ at his victory party Monday night, he smiled.

All political eyes will be watching him to see if he launches a presidential bid. Some Republicans are already switching loyalities.

‘This was the end of the Trump era and the dawn of the DeSantis era,’ a Republican operative close to the Trump orbit told ABC News. ‘Like every other Trump catastrophe, he did this to himself with stupid and reckless decisions.’ 

Impressively in Tuesday’s contest, DeSantis turned blue areas of the Sunshine state red. He won by double digits in heavily Hispanic Miami-Dade County, carried Democratic Palm Beach and even got Trump’s vote.

It might be the last time he can count on the former president checking his name at the ballot box. 

Trump has taken credit for DeSantis’ meteoric rise in the Republican Party but as the 2024 speculation increased, he also has issued a series of warning shots to now his frenemy. 

Ron DeSantis' landslide win in Florida's gubernatorial contest pushed him to the top of the pack for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024; above DeSantis with his wife Casey and children Madison, Mason and Mamie

Ron DeSantis’ landslide win in Florida’s gubernatorial contest pushed him to the top of the pack for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024; above DeSantis with his wife Casey and children Madison, Mason and Mamie

DeSantis defeated Democratic rival Charlie Crist by at least 19 points - a sharp contrast to his first race for governor four years ago, when he sketched out a victory by less than one percent

DeSantis defeated Democratic rival Charlie Crist by at least 19 points – a sharp contrast to his first race for governor four years ago, when he sketched out a victory by less than one percent

The Florida Governor, 44, has not indicated what his political future holds , but when his supporters chanted 'two more years, two more years' at his victory party Monday night, he smiled

The Florida Governor, 44, has not indicated what his political future holds , but when his supporters chanted ‘two more years, two more years’ at his victory party Monday night, he smiled

Poll

Would you back Ron DeSantis as the 2024 Republican presidential candidate?

  • Yes 185 votes
  • No 27 votes

The former president is reminding people that it was his endorsement of DeSantis that propelled the then-congressman to victory in the crowded 2018 GOP gubernatorial primary.

‘And as soon as I endorsed him, within moments, the race was over,’ Trump told News Nation. ‘I got him the nomination. He didn’t get it. I got it, because the minute I made that endorsement, he got it.’ 

But, privately, Trump has fumed about DeSantis, who has, in many ways, modeled his political life on Trump’s. Both men have raged against the establishment to make their mark, have photogenic wives, and have solidified their appeal to the GOP base.

He was ‘livid’ and ‘screaming at everyone,’ after Tuesday night’s disappointing results for Republicans, who didn’t get the red wave of wins the they expected, a Trump adviser told CNN. 

Trump has said if DeSantis did run, he would let loose on things he knows about the governor. He even indicated DeSantis’ wife Casey would be a target of his ire.

‘If he runs, he runs,’ Trump said. 

He added: ‘If he did run, I will tell you things about him that won’t be very flattering. I know more about him than anybody other than perhaps his wife, who is really running his campaign.’ 

Trump has never been shy about attacking his rivals or their families. During the 2016 Republican primary, Trump derided Marco Rubio as ‘Little Marco’ and attacked Ted Cruz’s wife Heidi on her looks. 

He’s already trying out nicknames on the Florida governor. 

He called him ‘Ron DeSanctimonious’ at a political rally in Miami on Monday but then, on Tuesday, said he voted for DeSantis when he cast his ballot in Palm Beach. 

DeSantis, when asked about the 2024 contest, has said he was focused on his re-election campaign.

But, in his victory speech, he bragged about turning Florida from a battleground state to one in Republicans’ column.

‘The people have delivered their verdict: Freedom is here to stay,’ he said. ‘Now, thanks to the overwhelming support of the people of Florida we not only won this election; we have rewritten the political map.’  

'We saw freedom and our very way of life in so many other jurisdictions in this country wither on the vine. Florida held the line,' DeSantis said to cheers during his victory speech

‘We saw freedom and our very way of life in so many other jurisdictions in this country wither on the vine. Florida held the line,’ DeSantis said to cheers during his victory speech 

Donald Trump has taken credit for DeSantis' meteoric rise in the Republican Party but as the 2024 speculation increased, he also has issued a series of warning shots to his frenemy (Pictured together at a campaign rally in October, 2018)

Donald Trump has taken credit for DeSantis’ meteoric rise in the Republican Party but as the 2024 speculation increased, he also has issued a series of warning shots to his frenemy (Pictured together at a campaign rally in October, 2018)

DeSantis rose to national prominence during the COVID pandemic when he reopened schools and businesses at a time medical experts were advocating lockdowns. The governor also banned mask mandates and vaccine passports.

The moves made him a star among conservatives. He also seized on other issues that appeal to the right: endorsing legislation that would ban schools from teaching young children about sexual orientation and gender identity, which set him up in a high-profile clash with the Disney corporation. 

And he paid to have migrants shipped from the southern border to Democratic strongholds like New York City and Martha’s Vineyard.

All of it has boosted his fundraising. 

DeSantis raised $196 million for his re-election. He spent $130 million and still has $66 million left, according to campaign finance reports. 



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