Donors and supporters of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are beginning to question if he’s ready for the presidential stage in 2024.
Some aren’t sure he’s ready for a head-to-head battle against Donald Trump in the GOP Primary.
After a series of missteps and unfavorable poll numbers, DeSantis backers question if he’s capable of being the GOP frontrunner this election cycle.
According to a NBC News report, some DeSantis allies think he should wait until 2028 to mount a presidential run.
They believe it’s best for DeSantis to bypass going against Trump altogether.
NEW — A group of 16 prominent Republicans and donors met in Palm Beach Sunday. Pro-DeSantis and/or Trump-skeptical.
Consensus was they liked DeSantis, it might be better for him to wait to run in 2028 after missteps and sagging polls https://t.co/TGsOh7IhDZ
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) March 25, 2023
At this point I say he won’t be a choice for 2028 either❗️#RonDeSantis has proven to be a #RINO beholden to globalists’ money for his campaign. His voting record shows it too. https://t.co/TxnUvLb52J
— Arch Kennedy (@ArchKennedy) March 25, 2023
…"The GOPe doesn’t quite realize. Donald J Trump isn’t the cause of their failure, he is the result of their failure"…
Mid-Tier Donor Class Very Worried About Ron DeSantis 2024 Management Agenda https://t.co/RzWTpvXPlW
— TheLastRefuge (@TheLastRefuge2) March 25, 2023
From the NBC News report:
A number of the Florida governor’s donors and allies are worried his recent stumbles suggest he may not be ready for a brutal fight against Donald Trump. Some feel DeSantis needs to accelerate his timeline to run for the GOP presidential nomination and begin directly confronting Trump if he’s to have any chance of thwarting the former president’s momentum. Others believe DeSantis should sidestep Trump altogether and wait until 2028 to run.
At a Sunday luncheon following the annual Red Cross ball in Palm Beach, Florida, a group of 16 prominent Republicans, described by one attendee as a mix of DeSantis backers and Trump “skeptics,” discussed misgivings about the governor’s standing for the future if he tussles with the former president.
“They liked him — many of them might even support him,” the person who was at the event said of DeSantis. “But they thought on balance that his long-term future was better without him trying to take Trump head on.”
“He will get scarred up” by Trump, the person added.
Then there’s conservative billionaire shipping goods magnate Richard Uihlein and his wife, Elizabeth, whose $500,000 in combined contributions ranked them among the most generous donors to DeSantis’ 2022 re-election campaign.
A person familiar with the strategy around Uihlein’s spending said that right now, “The brakes are pumped,” adding, “The polling really made different people pause.”
The report noted how DeSantis failed to gain momentum against Trump in the polls despite a potential indictment looming over him.
Yet, Trump’s popularity has strengthened, and DeSantis lost ground during a week his donors thought would benefit the governor.
Cont. from NBC News:
Once surging, DeSantis remains well below Trump in polls measuring the prospective GOP primary field. He was slow to respond to the possible indictment of Trump — and then sideswiped the former president once he did. DeSantis was also forced this week to clean up his position on U.S. support for Ukraine after a backlash from establishment Republicans.
“It’s 100% possible that we’ve seen him peak already,” said one veteran Republican campaign operative who speaks to donors regularly. That person said he believes DeSantis can recover, but the governor’s reaction to the indictment question “was really telling about how far behind the eight-ball” he and his team are.
A GOP strategist who has spoken directly with donors in Palm Beach said that this is a week that should be good for DeSantis, considering his chief rival for the nomination could be indicted any day now. And the fact that it’s been so tough for the governor has given some donors pause.
“DeSantis is doing a book tour. He’s barnstorming the country, and his polls are going down,” the strategist said. “Meanwhile, Trump’s potentially under indictment, and Trump’s going up. It’s just not a good look for DeSantis.”
This person added that donors who have given to DeSantis over the past year or two are still open to supporting him for president, but they’re also starting to take a look at other potential candidates like Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., as DeSantis has “fumbled” big moments.
DeSantis supporters don’t think he’ll announce a presidential run until at least June, after Florida’s legislative session is over.
However, allies thought DeSantis showed poor discipline by taking a shot at Trump with the potential indictment from Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg.
“We were always convinced that DeSantis was going to be very disciplined. Disciplined, disciplined, disciplined,” one advisor said.
“And he kind of proved this week that he’s not. This was a guy who would not talk about Trump, and here he is taking shots nearly a year before Republicans start actually voting.”
Some Trump allies even commented that DeSantis missed a golden opportunity to make a political power move over Trump.
“What DeSantis should have done is immediately respond and say, ‘Under no circumstances will the free state of Florida allow this political prosecution to take place,’” one operative told NBC News, noting that Trump is a Florida resident.
“What that would have done is present DeSantis as the alpha and Trump as the beta. He could have set himself up to look like the protector of Trump, which would have driven Trump crazy.”
Although some DeSantis backers don’t think the governor’s recent struggles have impacted his standing in the race, he’s still behind Trump in the polls.
As WeLoveTrump noted, Trump beat DeSantis in a Florida GOP primary poll.
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