(JustPatriots.com)- If former President Donald Trump doesn’t run for president in 2024, it seems that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis may have the early inside track on the Republican nomination.
A survey conducted of registered Republican voters at the end of February by Just the News was seeking to see which potential candidates would be the leaders of the Republican ticket if Trump were not to run.
DeSantis found himself at the top of that list, with 21% of support from those who responded to the survey. Next on the list, with 18% of the vote, was Republican Senator Ted Cruz from Texas.
Next in line was Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina and former ambassador to the United Nations during the Trump presidency. Haley garnered 10% of support from respondents. Coming in fourth was Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state under Trump, with 9% of support.
Others who garnered support, in order of percentage, were Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson (8%), South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (4%), Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton (4%), Missouri Senator Josh Hawley (2%), Texas Governor Greg Abbott (2%) and California Representative Devin Nunes (2%).
Trump hasn’t made public his intentions for the 2024 election, and the GOP is trying to test potential candidates who could lead the party if the former president decides not to run. DeSantis, the 42-year-old governor from Florida who also once served in the House of Representatives, has started to gain a following among the party.
Many Republican voters like the fact that he’s been outspoken during the coronavirus pandemic, and has done well to mitigate the spread in a big swing state. As Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio told the New York Times recently:
“His policies were contrarian, and he was defiant. The more he stands his ground, the more he speaks his mind, the more the affinity grows for him.”
Many conservatives have gotten behind DeSantis’ decisions to keep businesses and schools open in Florida even though other states have been much stricter with their policies. He’s also gained some national attention by going on TV channels such as CNN and Fox News.
This has given him some notoriety that governors otherwise normally wouldn’t get, especially going against powerful Senators like Cruz.
Many would think that Cruz would have a leg up on DeSantis because he’s in Washington, D.C. He also finished in second place in the last Republican primary.
But, DeSantis is gaining steam as Florida continues to rebound from the pandemic ahead of many other states. Some Republicans are beginning to see him as the leader of “the free state of Florida,” as the Times reported.
Former Representative David Jolly commented to the Times:
“He’s taken the wrong approach on some of our most critical issues, COVID being first and foremost, yet within Republican political circles, he is considered to be the front-runner for the White House. He’s worked his hand perfectly.”
Of course, DeSantis’ early support from Republican voters could be all for naught if Trump were to decide to throw his hat in the ring for 2024. That may even convince DeSantis to not run at all in 2024, so as to not step on the toes of someone he supports.