Members of DeSantis' team have argued that, despite continously trailing the former president in the polls, the governor's base of support will expand as soon as he officially declares that he's running.
According to Politico, DeSantis' team is confident that their guy has what it takes to become the nominee, with gubernatorial campaign manager Generra Peck suggesting that "everyone knows the majority of the Republican Party wants to move on."
DeSantis' spokesperson David Abrams highlighted the fact that Trump took to attacking the governor personally and professionally long before any talk of a presidential run was openly discussed. He suggested that the former president "knows that his greatest threat is Ron DeSantis."
Of course, DeSantis made all the moves of a man seeking to become president save for actually announcing. He launched a book and went on tour, visited early primary and caucus states New Hampshire and Iowa, and there are many in media talking about him as though he's already announced–and has been for months.
The state legislature in Florida recently passed a bill to allo DeSantis to run for president while still retaining his position as governor of Florida, a move many see as the final hurdle he needed to leap before being able to make the official announcement. And he's got a great deal of steam behind him among the pundit classes.
As Politico reports, in three kickoff states, DeSantis was viewed as more favorable than Trump, especially among the "very conservative" crowd, a demographic of which he was able to garner nearly 80 percent of support in Iowa.
Pollster Robert Blizzard suggested that with Trump as the nominee, Republicans would have a harder time in battleground states come 2024, and blue states would be "off the table."
On a fundraising level, campaign finance specialist Roy Bailey stated that "the major donor network has walked" away from the former president. "They're looking for new leadership," he explained, "and 85 percent of them are waiting for DeSantis."
Supporters of DeSantis have acknowleged that the Republican Party is "really tough" at the moment. Utah governor Spencer Cox lamented the fact that, "no one else has figured out how to unify and bring the party together," suggesting that DeSantis "has clearly made the calculation he needs to be a good alternative for Trump diehard voters out there."
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