Though former President Donald Trump's 2024 campaign has been buoyed in recent days by encouraging GOP primary poll results, Politico suggests that there is a significant contingent of former supporters who have transferred their allegiance to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
According to the outlet, even some who once considered themselves die-hard supporters of Trump believe it is time for new leadership at the top of the ticket.
In support of the above thesis, Politico reported on DeSantis' recent book tour kickoff, designed to generate interest in his new book, The Courage to Be Free: Florida's Blueprint for America's Revival.
Of the approximately 250 Floridians who stood in line at a Jacksonville Beach bookstore for a book signing event, the outlet found more than a few who expressed their interest in a change for the next election cycle.
Politico quoted state resident Nita Spatola who said bluntly, “Donald needs to retire, and I love Donald.” Sporting a cap from DeSantis' gubernatorial campaign, she added, “This is the man who is going to change the direction of this country.”
Fellow book buyer Steve Watts had a different take on why DeSantis is his preferred candidate, saying, “The former president is too big for his britches. He thinks his stuff doesn't stink.”
Though DeSantis has not even thrown his hat in the presidential ring, recent weeks have seen him undertaking a series of initiatives certain to raise his national profile, including embarking on a pro-police listening tour in several major Democrat-led cities, as Fox News noted.
DeSantis has also made a slew of recent media appearances, is slated for a two-city foray into Texas and will visit Alabama to speak at the state's GOP dinner, as Politico further noted.
Next week will see the governor head to the key primary state of Iowa, and new reporting indicates that he also has Nevada and New Hampshire on his travel itinerary for the near future.
Though he continues to demur when asked directly about his intentions for 2024, a recent profile of the governor by Selena Zito for the Washington Examiner declared that DeSantis' constituents in Florida have “mostly stopped asking if he's going to run, as though the question has already been answered,” with the state's chief executive himself observing, “People basically say, 'Well, yeah, you got to do it.'”
Echoing the sentiment to which DeSantis referred was Matt Kinsey, who was among those in attendance at the Jacksonville Books-A-Million event. “I hate losing him as a governor. But our country is in much more dire shape than our state,” he said.
Floridian Casey Jones, who attended a DeSantis speech at a nearby Fraternal Order of Police Lodge, said his loyalty switched from the former president to the current governor when the former decided to take “potshots” at his former ally -- a tactic Trump seems determined to use with increasing frequency.
“DeSantis as couth. DeSantis isn't going to get all muddy and in the dirt like Trump is,” Jones opined.
Despite the enthusiasm of many in Florida for their governor's potential presidential ambitions, Trump's support among his party's base remains strong and appears to be gaining momentum, as evidenced by his runaway victory in the CPAC straw poll on Saturday, so if DeSantis is prepping for an announcement sooner rather than later, it is clear that a rough and tumble battle almost certainly lies ahead.