Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida, once seen as a formidable challenger to former President Donald Trump in the 2024 presidential race, now finds himself at a crucial juncture. Initially entering the race as a strong contender with a focus on conservative policies and a successful track record, DeSantis’s campaign has hit a snag in recent weeks.
As a result, he has had to reevaluate his message and let go of some campaign staff. Furthermore, the candidacy of Senator Tim Scott from South Carolina has emerged as a potential threat.
For DeSantis, Florida is a vital state in terms of political appeal. In the 2022 election, he won re-election by a significant margin of 19 points over former Democratic Representative Charlie Crist, securing nearly every county in the state.
However, DeSantis now faces a challenge in Florida as well, with Trump maintaining a leading position in the state. Early polls showed DeSantis ahead among GOP presidential contenders, but Trump has since overtaken him.
According to a recent survey from Florida Atlantic University/Mainstreet Research, Trump is leading DeSantis 54% to 37% in the state.
Some Republicans in Florida are questioning DeSantis’s continued strength in the state, which previously contributed to his rise as a national conservative figure. Additionally, they argue that some voters in the state are put off by his decision to challenge Trump in the first place.
Republican Alan Pincus, who supported DeSantis in the 2022 gubernatorial election and is running for Congress next year, expressed concerns about DeSantis’s political future in Florida if he fails to win the GOP presidential primary. Pincus believes that challenging Trump may have significantly harmed DeSantis’s prospects, possibly even permanently.
As national polls show Trump in a comfortable lead, DeSantis faces an uphill battle to regain momentum in both the presidential race and his home state. The outcome of the GOP primary will be a critical determinant of DeSantis’s political trajectory moving forward.