For more than six months he has taken repeated hits from former President Trump and his allies, but now that he has joined Trump in the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis seems to be back.
As he called Thursday morning on popular early voting radio programs in the Republican nominating states of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina hours after formally declaring his candidacy for the president in a campaign launch video first reported by Fox News, DeSantis was asked. about the frequent bursts of incoming fire he took from Trump.
“I think a lot of what he’s doing is showing everybody that he understands that I have a good chance to beat him, because he’s not complaining about anybody right now. It’s just me,” DeSantis argued in an interview with the host Jack. Heath in “The Pulse of New Hampshire.” “They wouldn’t do that if they didn’t think I had a chance because I think they know I offer people a record of success that is second to none.”
The attacks on Trump and his allies escalated Wednesday night after DeSantis launched into a fiery tirade during a Twitter appearance with business magnate and Twitter owner Elon Musk. when the Florida governor kicks off his 2024 campaign.
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While DeSantis’ campaign was quick to describe the serious glitches as a “break the internet” moment, Trump and his allies argued that the episode was an embarrassing flop. Among other things, the former president – on his Truth Social social media outlet – posted a video of a rocket crashing and exploding with the caption “Ron! 2024.”
Additionally, the Trump aligned super PAC MAGA Inc. reported that “Ron DeSantis’ failed shadow campaign and botched campaign launch are only the most recent examples of a career politician who is clearly not ready for the moment.”
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However, the DeSantis campaign said they had a productive night – showing that they got $1 million in online fundraising in the first hour after the governor declared his candidacy.
DeSantis will be in Miami on Thursday, where he will meet with top donors and bundlers.
“I think there are a lot of donors who are waiting to get off the sidelines, waiting for DeSantis to come in,” said Dan Eberhart, an oil drilling chief executive and a prominent Republican donor and bundler. , told Fox News.
Eberhart, who contributed $100,000 and raised half a million dollars for former President Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign but is now a DeSantis supporter, predicted that “I hope there will be a merger of the conservative donor around Ron DeSantis.”
A source at the Miami fundraising meeting told Fox News that attendees were talking about the Twitter glitch but said DeSantis’ financial backers understand that “there’s a lot of interest in it breaking the system … it’s not the governor’s fault.” .” The mission of the meeting in Miami is to bring a fundraiser in the coming days that the DeSantis campaign can show next week as a sign of strength.
DeSantis set a gubernatorial fundraising record in the 2022 cycle as he won a convincing re-election victory and had $110 million in cash on hand with his fundraising committees at the start of spring.
Most of that money went to Never Back Down, a super PAC supporting the Florida governor’s White House bid that has set up a ground operation in key election states across the country and pledged to spend up to $ 200 million for DeSantis.
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Trump, who in November launched his third consecutive White House campaign, has for months been the clear frontrunner in the GOP presidential nomination polls. National polls released this week by Fox News and Quinnipiac University both show Trump leading DeSantis by more than 30 percentage points — and new national surveys by CNN and Marquette Law School also suggest the former president with multiple double-digit leads over the governor of Florida.
While DeSantis remains ahead of the rest of the field of actual and likely Republican contenders — standing in the mid- to low-single digits in the most recent surveys — his poll numbers relative of Trump disappeared from earlier this year.
“I would be shocked if the former president didn’t lead,” DeSantis said of the polls as he took questions from reporters at a conference call Wednesday night. “He has 100% name ID. He is one of the most famous people in the world.”
The governor, who won a landslide re-election last November in a state that was once a primary battleground in the general election, noted that “I won my last election by about 20 points.
DeSantis touted several endorsements he received last week — even before he announced his candidacy — from state lawmakers in Iowa and New Hampshire. But he also pointed to the calendar and noted that it’s “just getting started. I don’t think the average Republican primary voter is obsessed with it.”
The governor, at the conference all, also painted differences in policy with Trump.
“He added nearly $8 trillion to the debt over a four-year period. I’m glad to be on the conservative side of that debate,” DeSantis told reporters.
And he argued that Trump “endorsed and tried to participate in an ‘amnesty'” bill during his presidency.
The DeSantis campaign announced Thursday morning that the governor will hold “campaign kick-off” events next week in three states at the top of the GOP presidential nominating calendar, the first in-person campaign since he declared his candidacy for the White House on Wednesday.
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DeSantis will begin with a May 30 event in Des Moines, Iowa, followed by a quick series of events in four other Iowa cities on May 31. He will then travel to New Hampshire and South Carolina in June. 1 and 2, according to a campaign. notice.
DeSantis has made stops twice in Iowa and New Hampshire and once in South Carolina in recent months, as he gets closer to launching a presidential campaign.