The landslide victory of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Tuesday night heightened rumors of a 2024 presidential bid and put him on a collision course with Donald Trump.
He beat Democratic rival Charlie Crist by at least 19 points — a stark contrast to his first race for governor four years ago, when he outlined a win of less than one percent.
DeSantis, 44, has not specified what his political future holds, but when his supporters chanted “two more years, two more years” Monday night at his victory celebration, he smiled.
All political eyes will be watching him to see if he makes a presidential bid.
Impressively in Tuesday’s game, DeSantis colored blue areas of the Sunshine State red. He won by double digits in heavily Hispanic Miami-Dade County, wore Democratic Palm Beach and even got Trump’s vote.
It may be the last time he can count on the former president checking his name at the ballot box.
Trump has taken credit for DeSantis’ meteoric rise in the Republican Party, but as speculation has grown in 2024, he has also fired a series of warning shots at his enemy.
Ron DeSantis’ sweeping victory in the Florida gubernatorial contest pushed him to the top of the pack for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024; above DeSantis with his wife Casey and children Madison, Mason and Mamie
DeSantis defeated Democratic rival Charlie Crist by at least 19 points — a stark contrast to his first race for governor four years ago, when he outlined a win by less than one percent
The Florida governor, 44, has not specified what his political future holds, but when his supporters chanted “two more years, two more years” Monday night at his victory party, he smiled.
The former president is reminding people that it was his endorsement of DeSantis that propelled the then-Congressman to victory in the crowded 2018 GOP governmental primaries.
“And once I backed him, the race was over in moments,” Trump told News Nation. ‘I got him the nomination. He didn’t get it. I got it, because the moment I made that approval, he understood.’
But privately, Trump is furious with DeSantis, who in many ways has modeled his political life after Trump’s. Both men have raged against the establishment to make their mark, have photogenic wives and have strengthened their appeal to the GOP base.
He was “furious” and “yelling at everyone” after Tuesday night’s disappointing results for Republicans, who didn’t get the red wave of wins they expected, a Trump adviser told CNN.
And he said if DeSantis ran, he’d let go of things he knows about the governor. He even indicated that Casey, DeSantis’ wife, would be a target of his wrath.
“If he runs, he runs,” Trump said.
He added: “If he’s run away, I’ll tell you things about him that aren’t very flattering. I know more about him than anyone but maybe his wife, who really runs his campaign.’
Trump has never been shy about attacking his rivals or their families. During the 2016 Republican primary, Trump mocked Marco Rubio as “Little Marco” and attacked Ted Cruz’s wife Heidi for her appearance.
He’s already trying nicknames on the governor of Florida.
He called him “Ron DeSanctimonious” at a political rally in Miami on Monday, but said Tuesday that he voted for DeSantis when he cast his vote in Palm Beach.
When asked about the 2024 contest, DeSantis said he was focused on his reelection campaign.
But in his victory speech, he bragged about turning Florida from a battleground to a state in the Republican column.
“The people have passed their verdict: freedom is here to stay,” he said. “Thanks to the overwhelming support of the people of Florida, we didn’t just win this election; we have rewritten the political map.’
“We saw freedom and our way of life wither on the vine in so many other jurisdictions in this country. Florida held the line,” DeSantis said cheering during his victory speech
Donald Trump has taken credit for DeSantis’ meteoric rise in the Republican Party, but as speculation has grown in 2024, he has also fired a series of warning shots at his frenemy (pictured together at an October 2018 campaign rally)
DeSantis gained national attention during the COVID pandemic when he reopened schools and businesses at a time when medical experts called for lockdowns. The governor also banned mask mandates and vaccine passports.
The moves made him a star among conservatives. He also seized on other issues that appeal to the right: passing legislation that would ban schools from teaching young children about sexual orientation and gender identity, which landed him in a high-profile clash with the Disney company.
And he paid to ship migrants from the southern border to Democratic strongholds like New York City and Martha’s Vineyard.
All this has given his fundraising a boost.
DeSantis raised $196 million for his reelection. He spent $130 million and has $66 million left, according to campaign finance reports.