The 2024 presidential campaign is not playing out like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis or his supporters hoped.
Establishment Republicans backing DeSantis believed DeSantis was the candidate who could break Donald Trump’s stranglehold on the GOP.
But now Ron DeSantis was forced to make a stunning confession about Donald Trump.
None of the assumptions underpinning the DeSantis campaign have so far come true.
DeSantis supporters claimed the Florida governor would see a surge in his numbers upon entering the race.
The latest poll out of New Hampshire showed Donald Trump leading Ron DeSantis by 37 points.
NEW HAMPSHIRE 2024: Trump holds 37-point lead for Republican Nomination
Trump — 48% (+37)
DeSantis — 11%
Christie — 10%
Scott — 7%
Ramaswamy — 5%
Pence — 5%
Haley — 3%
Burgum — 3%
American Pulse l July 5-11 l n=895https://t.co/YdnQjFAJdt
— InteractivePolls (@IAPolls2022) July 14, 2023
DeSantis supporters also predicted DeSantis would see a flood of elected Republicans endorsing his campaign.
This past week every Republican member of Congress in the critical swing state of Michigan endorsed Donald Trump’s campaign.
With DeSantis’s poll numbers flat – at best – and Trump growing stronger by the day the narrative surrounding the campaign was that Trump looked like the inevitable frontrunner and that DeSantis stalled out.
The establishment donors that initially contributed to DeSantis’s campaign like moderate, pro-amnesty billionaire Ken Griffin began to put word out that they were pausing their support and eyeing South Carolina Senator Tim Scott as their new anti-Trump savior.
The DeSantis campaign then reached into the same bag of tricks that every struggling campaign does and sent a “confidential memo” to supporters.
In reality the DeSantis campaign leaked this memo to the press as the point of the exercise is to put word out in public that the campaign has a plan to turn things around and that no one should jump ship.
According to the memo the DeSantis campaign is pulling back on competing nationally and focusing their efforts on the critical four early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.
“While Super Tuesday is critically important, we will not dedicate resources to Super Tuesday that slow our momentum in New Hampshire,” the memo stated. “We expect to revisit this investment in the Fall.”
Struggling campaigns often retrench to an all-in strategy on one of the four early-voting states.
That the DeSantis campaign is still focusing on each of the initial voting states shows DeSantis still has the resources and support to remain viable.
But what stood out in the memo was the implied admission that the DeSantis campaign no longer considered Donald Trump the only candidate it had to worry about.
Ever since DeSantis threw his hat in the ring the DeSantis campaign acted like this was a two-man race between DeSantis and Trump.
But in the memo the DeSantis campaign singled out Scott for criticism and claimed Scott would not be able to withstand scrutiny from the press or other candidates on the debate stage.
“While Tim Scott has earned a serious look at this stage, his bio is lacking the fight that our electorate is looking for in the next President,” the memo read. “We expect Tim Scott to receive appropriate scrutiny in the weeks ahead. We’ve found low to no interest in Vivek, Burgum, and Nikki while far too many voters will not consider Pence and Christie for them to feel remotely viable.”
The DeSantis campaign included this shot at Scott as a message to donors to stick with DeSantis.
But the fact that DeSantis’s team even felt the need to address Scott showed that in the seven weeks since becoming a candidate DeSantis is closer to the also-ran tier of candidates than he is Donald Trump.
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