(RightWing.org) – The only Republican heavyweight who could pose a real challenge to Donald Trump for next year’s GOP nomination is still holding back from entering the race. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) recently told journalists he’s “not a candidate.” But does that completely rule him out, or could he still be waiting to see which way the polls move?
"I'm not a candidate, so we'll see if and when that changes," Gov. DeSantis, who is in Japan right now, says when asked about polls that show him falling behind Trump. pic.twitter.com/nDVeyBoVHN
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) April 24, 2023
On April 24, DeSantis spoke to reporters during a trip to Japan. Journalists asked him about recent polling on candidates for next year’s Republican presidential nomination, which shows him losing ground to the former president; at the end of March, Trump had a lead of 45.9% to DeSantis’s 30.1%, but since then, the gap has widened significantly; now 52.4% want Trump to run for a second term, while just 23.4% would prefer DeSantis to take on President Biden. Questioned about that, he replied, “I’m not a candidate” — but hinted that this could still change.
The big worry for DeSantis will be what’s driving Trump’s sudden surge. Trump is likely to have gained a boost from his April 4 indictment, which has reinforced his narrative of being persecuted by the Left. On the other hand, DeSantis has also attracted controversy with a strict new abortion law and his ongoing battle with the Disney corporation. Nevertheless, no other Republican has a realistic chance of challenging Trump; the next most popular, former VP Mike Pence, has just 5.5% support.
So far, DeSantis has been cagey about his plans for 2024. Some analysts think he’s planning to let Trump run next year and save his own bid for 2028; others suspect he’s waiting to see if his polling recovers before making a final decision. The governor himself has said he’ll reveal his plans after the Florida legislative session ends in late May. For now, though, it looks as if Trump would easily defeat him — at least according to the polls.
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