Inside the collapse of Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign

Inside the collapse of Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign. By Rosina Sabur.

Ron DeSantis had a clear mission as he prepared to leave his governor’s mansion in Jacksonville, Florida for Washington this week.

The 44-year-old was on a charm offensive in the US capital, hoping to gain endorsements from Republican congressmen for his fledgling 2024 presidential bid.

But before his plane had even taken off, Mr DeSantis’ plan hit a stumbling block: two congressmen from his own state had just backed Donald Trump.

By the end of this week, half of the Republicans representing Florida in the House had declared their support for Mr Trump. …

All eyes are now on Florida’s two Republican senators, Rick Scott and Marco Rubio, who hold considerable sway and are yet to endorse in the 2024 GOP primary. …

The sharks are circling:

GOP donors saw his decisive win in the country’s largest swing state as evidence that the young governor could be a leader for the party’s next generation.

But a string of missteps and a slump in the polls has slowed his momentum, and led even the most loyal fans to voice doubts about his presidential aspirations.

Some are openly questioning whether Mr DeSantis should declare his candidacy at all.

“The Trump campaign clearly sees blood in the water and the sharks are circling around DeSantis,” GOP strategist Dennis Lennox said of the flurry of endorsements for the former president. …

In a further blow to Mr DeSantis, Mr Trump gained a 13-point advantage over his nearest rival in a Wall Street Journal poll released on Friday, leading 51 per cent to 38 per cent.

It marks a 27-point swing since December, when Mr DeSantis enjoyed a 14-point lead among likely Republican primary voters. …

He’s a governor, not a politician:

Sources close to the governor have suggested he is overly reliant on his own political instincts and those of his wife, Casey, rather than seasoned campaign managers. …

Another Republican operative said this was hurting him with both supporters and donors.

“He’s great at governing, but he’s a lousy politician,” the operative said. “He doesn’t slap the backs and shake the hands. He doesn’t remember who the donors are.”

They added: “I have been at events with him where he didn’t shake a single hand, pose for a single photo.”

This lack of finesse when it comes to traditional retail politics is believed to have spooked some donors.

The donor class have way too much influence.

hat-tip Stephen Neil