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2024 intrigue: DeSantis declines to ask Trump for reelection endorsement

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has plenty of advantages ahead of his November reelection. More than $100 million in the bank. A growing statewide Republican voter advantage. Massive popularity with the conservative base.

What DeSantis doesn’t need and isn’t requesting: former President Donald Trump’s endorsement.

According to four people connected to the governor and former president, DeSantis has not asked Trump for a formal endorsement and isn’t planning to. It’s a clear sign that DeSantis, who more than four years ago was a little-known congressman from northeast Florida, has risen high in the GOP stratosphere.

DeSantis’ reluctance to seek the former president’s public support comes as the Florida governor prepares for a likely 2024 White House bid, even if Trump also runs in 2024 — setting up a potential clash between two powerful figures in the GOP.

“[DeSantis is] a Cat 5 hurricane in Florida politics — and in a good way if you are a Republican,” said Anthony Pedicini, a veteran GOP consultant in Florida. “He is a force of nature.”

Trump has used his endorsement as a cudgel against Republicans who voted to impeach him after the Jan. 6 riot in the Capitol, including Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.), who lost his primary to Trump-backed state Rep. Russell Fry. While Trump’s endorsement has the power to make or break a candidate, this election cycle has seen his influence waning in some races.

In Georgia, for example, the candidates who supported the former president’s attempts to overturn the election results and won his endorsement failed to beat Republican incumbents, including Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

An endorsement from Trump, however, would not likely change DeSantis’ frontrunner status in Florida among his Florida supporters. Polls have consistently shown him leading his Democratic rivals. In straw polls in Wisconsin, Nevada and the annual Western Conservative Summit survey, DeSantis has even topped Trump.

Dave Abrams, a spokeperson for DeSantis’ reelection campaign, declined to comment on whether the governor is seeking Trump’s backing.

A person with knowledge of Trump’s endorsement process who was granted anonymity to speak freely said that if DeSantis asked for his support, “he would endorse him.”

Trump has already handed out endorsements to numerous Florida Republicans on this year’s ballot, including Sen. Marco Rubio as well as Attorney General Ashley Moody and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, two statewide officials who have no primary opponents.


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