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A state Republican who had previously supported Ron DeSantis has announced that she is switching her endorsement to former President Donald Trump after the Florida governor’s glitchy campaign launch on Twitter Spaces Wednesday.
After being less than impressed with Ron DeSantis’s official announcement last night, I am hereby switching my endorsement to President Donald J. Trump,” New Hampshire State Representative Sandra Panek said on Thursday, according to the Tampa Free Press.
“We can’t expect someone to run the country if they can’t properly run their own campaign launch. The stakes are simply too great in 2024 to take a chance on someone as unreliable as DeSantis — we need a proven winner like President Trump to take back the White House and Make America Great Again!” she added.
Meanwhile, New Hampshire State Representative Juliet Harvey-Bolia changed her “dual endorsement” of Trump-DeSantis to just Trump.
“I’m proud to announce my full endorsement for President Trump, and only Trump. He’ll keep us out of war and prosperous as he has in the past. Ron DeSantis will make a great candidate in 2028. I expect Republicans will unite behind President Trump.”
Polls for months have shown Trump with a clear lead in the GOP primary race over all of his rivals, but DeSantis has consistently been the closest.
And on Thursday, the governor’s political strategists “detailed the path forward for the Florida governor in the Republican presidential primary — and brushed aside bad headlines surrounding his rocky campaign launch the night before,” Politico reported, adding:
Appearing before a private gathering of around 150 donors at the Four Seasons Hotel, three top DeSantis lieutenants — Ryan Tyson, Sam Cooper and Jason Johnson — argued that the governor remained poised throughout a malfunction-plagued appearance on Twitter Spaces, where he unveiled his candidacy in a conversation with billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk.
They said DeSantis had a clear path to defeat former President Donald Trump, and added their belief that Florida would emerge as a key state that could help to determine the outcome of the nomination contest, according to two people present for the presentation.
The group of advisers to DeSantis conducted a review of polling data in four crucial early primary states, namely Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada. They presented arguments indicating that the governor garnered more favorable ratings than Trump in each of these states, the outlet noted.
They argued that Trump’s current lead in the polls was artificially boosted by sympathy from Republican voters due to his indictment in New York regarding hush money payments to a pornstar, and that this advantage would gradually decrease over time. While acknowledging that the former president would likely maintain around 35 percent support in a primary, they emphasized that this still left a significant portion of the remaining 65 percent of the vote available for DeSantis.
According to the two people, the DeSantis team highlighted that Florida operates as a winner-take-all state in terms of delegate allocation. They emphasized that the state holds a significant number of delegates, all of which are awarded solely to the candidate who secures first place in the primary.
The outcome of the Florida primary could determine either a clear winner or lead to a contested convention where candidates would need to compete for delegates, Politico noted.
“They contended that DeSantis’ fundraising strength — a super PAC supporting his candidacy has already boasted raising some $30 million — would ensure that the governor would have the financial wherewithal to remain in the race through the early nomination states and into later delegate-rich contests, such as Florida,” the outlet continued, adding: “Should DeSantis make it to Florida, it could set the stage for a dramatic showdown with Trump, a fellow resident of the state.”