Apr 19, 2023, 4:27pm EDT
politicsNorth America

Trump dominates DeSantis in endorsements from Florida Republicans

Former U.S. President Donald Trump.
REUTERS/Marco Bello

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The News

In the last week alone, a slew of Florida Republicans have chosen to back Donald Trump in the race for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination — dealing a blow to their governor, Ron DeSantis.

Eight members of Congress from the state have endorsed the former president, and that total is expected to grow. DeSantis who is considered a leading contender but has yet to enter the race, has just one public backer in the House so far.

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Know More

Trump's endorsements

So far, Trump has received endorsements from Florida Reps. Matt Gaetz, Anna Paulina Luna, Cory Mills, Greg Steube, Vern Buchanan, Brian Mast, Byron Donalds, and John Rutherford.

Several announced their support of Trump even as DeSantis — a former member of the House — planned a visit to Washington, D.C., to mingle with representatives.

Time reported Wednesday that two more Florida Republicans, Reps. Gus Bilirakis and Carlos Gimenez, are also planning to endorse Trump, who has become a Florida resident since leaving the White House.

That would mean half of the 20-member Florida House GOP delegation will have thrown their support behind Trump.

DeSantis's endorsement

Just one House member from Florida — freshman Rep. Laurel Lee — has endorsed DeSantis, who has yet to formally launch a campaign. Lee served as his first secretary of state.

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Step Back

Members of DeSantis's team had been calling members of the Florida delegation and asked that they hold off on making any endorsements, NBC News reported last week.

That rubbed some the wrong way; Steube told Politico that DeSantis never reached out or responded to him during his five years in Congress — until he heard from a political aide last week "for the first time ever."

Trump's endorsement haul is just the latest development in the not-yet-official primary battle between Trump and DeSantis, and is an early sign of where officials on the right are leaning.

While some have hailed DeSantis as the party's best hope for beating Joe Biden in 2024, Trump allies hope the wave of endorsements shows that the party hasn't moved on from the former president.


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