Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) has a fundraiser scheduled in Utah that is causing more speculation of 2024 ambitions.
While DeSantis is currently running for re-election to a second term as governor, the far distance of the fundraiser could point to national ambitions, CNBC reported.
DeSantis fundraiser stirs up rumors
Sources told CNBC that DeSantis and donors are trying to keep the private July 19 event low-key, so as to avoid angering President Trump.
Widely seen as the natural successor to Trump, DeSantis has built a large conservative following by leaning into the culture war and fighting back aggressively at COVID mandates.
His rising popularity has led to rumors of 2024 aspirations and a possible clash down the line with Trump, who has hinted at running for president again without formally declaring.
DeSantis has also played coy when asked about his 2024 plans. But President Trump hasn’t hesitated to talk DeSantis down by taking credit for his success, noting DeSantis won the election with Trump’s endorsement. The former president also said recently that he would welcome DeSantis as a running mate.
“Well, I get along with him,” Trump said. “I was very responsible for his success, because I endorsed him and he went up like a rocket ship.”
Is DeSantis on Trump’s radar?
There is little doubt that Trump continues to dominate the GOP. He’s the leading choice in most 2024 Republican primary polls, with one recent Emerson survey finding that Trump led DeSantis by more than 30 points.
But Republican donors and groups have shown growing interest in DeSantis, signaling the Republican’s growing clout.
The governor is clearly on Trump’s radar: Trump shared a poll on his Truth Social account Friday that showed him beating DeSantis.
“With all the lies and the greatest Witch Hunt in U.S. History…my number went up,” Trump said. “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
It remains to be seen whether DeSantis is a viable challenger to Trump, or if DeSantis even wants to go that route. It’s hard to think of many other Republicans who feasibly could.