Florida’s Republican Senator, Rick Scott, has publicly backed the potential 2024 presidential candidacy of former President Trump. This endorsement is viewed as a notable blow to Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida. Notably, Scott, known for his alignment with Trump, abstained from endorsing any candidate in the 2016 Republican primary until the Florida competition, where Trump emerged victorious. Scott has a longstanding alliance with Trump, having overseen a pro-Trump super PAC in 2016.
In a recently published editorial in Newsweek, Senator Scott highlighted the importance of the Republican Party uniting behind a sole candidate to convey a unified message in opposition to Joe Biden and to revitalize the nation. While recognizing the difficulties faced by presidential candidates, Scott conveyed admiration for their efforts. However, he emphasized that the clear and strong preference of Republican voters is to revert to the leadership of Donald Trump.
Andrew Romeo, the communications director for DeSantis’ campaign, responded to Scott’s endorsement by asserting that DeSantis has widespread backing from almost all elected officials in Florida, owing to his track record of achieving significant outcomes for the conservative movement. Romeo emphasized the governor’s attractiveness, indicating that residents of Florida seek a leader capable of bringing result-driven leadership to Washington, mirroring his accomplishments in the Sunshine State.
The timing of Scott’s endorsement of Trump is particularly significant, especially considering its proximity to these pivotal events. DeSantis is encountering formidable competition, as indicated by a recent poll placing him in a tie for second place with former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley in Iowa. Trump holds a substantial lead in the same survey, while Haley has gained momentum following a standout performance in previous debates.
DeSantis has faced challenges in bringing together those who are against Trump, and he has not succeeded in garnering significant support from Trump’s followers. A noteworthy change in loyalty occurred when State Rep. Randy Fine, once an ally of DeSantis, declared his shift in support to Trump. Fine pointed to DeSantis’s perceived insufficient actions against antisemitism as a factor influencing his choice.
With Trump’s presidential bid gaining traction, it’s conceivable that additional Florida Republicans might emulate Scott’s example and shift their allegiance to endorse the ex-president. This scenario signifies a notable departure from just under a year ago when DeSantis wielded considerable influence in Florida politics, rendering his faltering presidential run a source of worry.