Trump shines over DeSantis at Florida-based 'Freedom Summit'

 November 5, 2023

There was a time when Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) was a leading -- and formidable -- opponent for former President Donald Trump in the 2024 GOP primary race. 

That has since changed, and Trump continues to not only dominate national GOP primary polling, but he also holds a commanding lead in state polls.

Trump's popularity in Florida is so substantial that he recently drowned out DeSantis at a massive Florida Republican Party event, making DeSantis' ambitions of getting proper support even in his own state an increasingly unlikely prospect.

"The Florida Republican Party, which Gov. Ron DeSantis spent time and money building up, is increasingly turning toward former President Donald Trump," NBC News wrote.

What happened?

The Florida GOP put on a "Freedom Sumit" last week, and many of those in attendance signaled their support for Trump over DeSantis.

"I think I am going to go with Trump for numerous reasons, but I think the biggest one is I want to see him have four years of uninterrupted progress on the agenda, where he doesn’t have to worry about getting re-elected," said Samantha Murchie, a Florida resident.

The former president wowed the room when he delivered a keynote address that evening.

“Exactly one year from tomorrow … you will vote in the most important election in the history of our country," Trump said, adding, "We are going to finish the job we started."

Chants of "we love Trump" broke out among the attendees.

Others booed

Several other GOP presidential candidates were not well received, with some of them, like former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson booed as they left the stage.

DeSantis gave a midday speech, and generated little to nothing in the way of headlines.

NBC News noted:

Even Saturday’s speaking schedule, put together by his home-state Republican Party, seemed stacked against DeSantis. The governor received a midafternoon speaking slot, while Trump was the keynote. And between DeSantis and Trump onstage was a series of pro-Trump speakers, including Florida Reps. Byron Donalds and Matt Gaetz, both of whom have formally endorsed Trump

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