Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s 2024 presidential aspirations are withering on the vine, ever since a Manhattan District Attorney arrested Donald Trump on false charges. Trump continues to pull away from everyone in the polls, and now four members of Florida’s congressional delegation have endorsed him. That’s a problem for Jeb Bush’s team of fundraisers who have poured approximately $500 million into the main PAC supporting DeSantis. As of this writing, DeSantis has exactly zero endorsements from his own state’s congressional delegation.
NBC News reports that DeSantis has been calling the remaining Members of Congress from Florida and begging them not to endorse anyone just yet. This comes on the heels of Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) endorsing Trump just last week. Reps. Anna Paulina Luna, Matt Gaetz, and Cory Mills had endorsed Trump earlier in the cycle.
As one Republican strategist noted, “Gaetz going with Trump is one thing, but Byron’s endorsement of the former president undoubtedly rattled some cages.”
Donalds has been an ally of Gov. DeSantis, so that is likely true. With those cages freshly rattled, DeSantis has personally called the offices of Reps. Aaron Bean, Vern Buchanan, Kat Cammack, Mario Diaz-Balart, Laurel Lee, and Greg Steube. DeSantis has been begging them to hold off on an endorsement until his team can meet with them in person. NBC News confirmed the DeSantis calls with four of those congressional offices.
In a potential Trump-DeSantis primary match-up, the polls had Trump slightly ahead by 11% back in January. As of April 9, following the former president’s unprecedented arrest on false charges, Trump’ has tripled his potential lead among GOP voters. Trump is now polling at 56% to DeSantis’s 23% — a 33% difference.