By Naveen Athrappully
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is trying to exit the 2024 Republican primaries due to falling behind by a big margin, said former president Donald Trump who is enjoying a considerable lead over rivals.
“Ron DeSanctimonious is desperately trying to get out of the Presidential race, while at the same time saving face for 2028, where he has been greatly damaged,” Mr. Trump said in a July 8 post at Truth Social. In June Mr. Trump told Fox News that he used the derogatory name for his rival because he believed Mr. DeSantis was being disloyal by challenging him for the presidency.
“Jeff Roe, Ron’s boss despite having a terrible record of winning, is spending money like a wild man gone bad,” Mr. Trump continued in his post. Roe serves as an advisor to a super PAC called Never Back Down that supports Mr. DeSantis as the 2024 Presidential candidate. In 2016, Roe ran Republican Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign.
“Much of the money being used was raised for his Gubernatorial race, and transferred over (illegally?) because his Presidential donors have largely fled due to his terrible, and still falling, poll numbers. Ron is just wasting time!” Mr. Trump added.
Multiple polls show Mr. Trump has a large lead over Mr. DeSantis in the 2024 Republican primary. A poll by Morning Consult showed Mr. Trump garnering 57 percent support from Republican voters—a 38-point lead over Mr. DeSantis with 19 percent support.
A June poll by InteractvePolls showed that Mr. Trump had a 33-point lead over Mr. DeSantis, a massive jump from January when the lead was only a narrow two points.
However, some have questioned the validity of the poll numbers. Bill Mitchell, CEO of YourVoice Studios, pointed out in a July 7 tweet that some of the polls do not take into account the fact that GOP primaries can be “open,” meaning that people who identify as Independent can vote to choose the candidate.
“Texas is an open primary. Independents can vote in the GOP election. This new Texas poll shows Trump leading DeSantis 51 to 19, but they are wildly undersampling Independents who lean heavily DeSantis,” he said while posting the results of a poll.
In an interview with Fox, Mr. DeSantis was asked why he has been lagging behind Trump when it comes to polls. The Florida governor insisted that he was being targeted.
“I think if you look at the people like the corporate media, who are they going after? Who do they not want to be the nominee? They’re going after me,” he said. “Who’s the President of Mexico attacking because he knows we’ll be strong on the border and hold him accountable and the cartels? He’s going after me.”
“This campaign has just started. But I think it’s pretty clear that I’m the guy that not only can beat [President Joe] Biden, I’m the guy that can beat the left on all these different issues,” he said.
“Of any Republican in the country, I have the best record of defeating the left on issue after issue. And we’ll be making that case over the next six or seven months. I’m running to win in January and February. I’m not running to juice polling now,” Mr. DeSantis stated.
Mr. DeSantis didn’t respond to a request for comment from The Epoch Times.
Difficult to Beat Trump
In a July 3 Twitter spaces event, Steve Cortes, a top spokesperson for Mr. DeSantis’s Super PAC, admitted that they are “way behind” Mr. Trump in the polls.
“Right now in national polling, we are way behind, I’ll be the first to admit that. … I believe in being blunt and really honest. It’s an uphill battle,” he said.
“I don’t think it is an unwinnable battle by any stretch. But clearly, Donald Trump is the runaway frontrunner, particularly since the indictments. That was not the case before the indictments. It is the case afterward.”
Cortes also admitted that Mr. Trump is far more popular than Mr. DeSantis. A “lot of regular Americans” outside of Florida haven’t even heard about Trump’s rival, he said.
In a July 5 post on Twitter, political commentator Gunther Eagleman said that “If I was a DeSantis advisor, I’d tell him to step out of the primary [and] publicly endorse Trump.”
Both Mr. DeSantis and Mr. Trump have engaged in a war of words against each other. In late May, Mr. DeSantis said that Mr. Trump has “moved left” on federal spending, abortion, and crime while only giving lip service to “America First” policies. He also insisted that Mr. Trump can’t win a general election.
“There are a lot of voters that just aren’t going to ever vote for him. We just have to accept that,” Mr. DeSantis said in Iowa.
In a June 30 Truth Social post, Mr. Trump said that Mr. DeSantis’s campaign “is DEAD” and that his polls “are dropping like a rock to Hell.”
The GOP has scheduled the first 2024 Republican presidential debate for Aug. 23, which could be followed by a second debate the next day if required. Mr. DeSantis has committed to taking part in the debate. Mr. Trump has yet to announce whether he will take part in the debate or not.
Trump in General Election
Though Mr. Trump is dominating GOP primaries, there are concerns about whether the former president can garner enough support in the general election to win the 2024 presidential race.
In a recent show at CNN, John Avlon, a senior political analyst at the media outlet, said that while Mr. Trump’s poll numbers are rising among Republicans, it is “sinking like a rock” among independents and the general electorate.
However, some polls show that Mr. Trump has an advantage over Mr. Biden. An InteractivePolls survey found that Mr. Trump garnered 48 percent support in swing states, an eight-point lead over Mr. Biden’s 40 percent support.
Some Democrats have admitted that they are wary about Mr. Trump running against Mr. Biden in the 2024 race even though the Democrat won in 2020.
“If you think otherwise, you have literally had your head buried in the sand,” former Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) said to NBC about the threat posed by Mr. Trump in the 2024 race. “You’re living in a world of delusion. And it’s dangerous.”
A late June NBC poll showed that Mr. Biden only had a narrow lead of four points over Mr. Trump, which fell in the survey’s margin of error. It was also far lower than the 10-point lead Mr. Biden had over Mr. Trump in NBC’s last poll prior to the 2020 election.