Trump and DeSantis preview a potential Republican presidential primary showdown as Sunday rallies in Florida


In a preview of a potential Republican presidential primary matchup, Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis will hold a duel rally in Florida on Sunday as the two battle for supremacy in the Sunshine State and the core of the Republican Party.

The former president will welcome supporters in Miami, the third stop on a four-city tour that effectively makes Trump a major player in his party’s battle for control of Congress.Meanwhile, the Governor of Florida Three counties on the opposite coast of the state — Hillsboro, Sarasota and Lee — made headlines at his own events — as he sought to end his bid for a second term. Stay away from Trump.

For the past two years, Trump and DeSantis have co-existed on opposite ends of Florida — and Trump is plotting his next move, from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach. ), while DeSantis became a household name in Tallahassee, the state capital. But as these midterm elections draw to a close and a decision on their political future looms, it’s increasingly difficult for the two to avoid each other, even on a 450-mile-long peninsula.

“We have two very stubborn, very A-type politicians in Florida who are on the front lines of the Republican Party,” said a GOP official who asked not to be named. “They both get attention, but they Both have their own political actions and that’s what you see. It’s exhausting to talk about.”

The long-simmering race has spilled into the public eye in the final weeks leading up to Election Day. At a rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday, Trump directly attacked DeSantis and named the governor a new nickname while declaring himself the front-runner of the putative Republican primary.

“That’s it, Trump is 71 percent (percentage), Ron DeSanctimonious is 10 percent,” Trump told the so-called polling numbers as he read them off a screen crowd.

DeSantis recently backed Republican businessman and Colorado Senate candidate Joe Audi, who in October vowed to “camp aggressively” against Trump.

“Big mistake!” Trump wrote on his TRUTH social platform.

Trump then shared a video of former Fox News host Meghan Kelly predicting that Republican voters would remain firmly in Trump’s camp if DeSantis decides to challenge the former president in the Republican presidential primary . CNN reported on Friday that Trump could launch his next presidential campaign as early as this month.

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But planning a contest in Florida two days ahead of the crucial Election Day in particular illustrates how fraught the relationship between former allies has become. Unlike other potential 2024 contenders, DeSantis did not refuse to run against Trump in the primary, much to Trump’s ire. Meanwhile, CNN previously reported that DeSantis believes such a concession would undermine his efforts to focus on the current re-election campaign rather than what could happen in the future. DeSantis and his campaign have declined to publicly discuss his plans beyond the midterms, but he would not respond when asked during a recent debate if he intended to serve a four-year term if re-elected.

In the first of three events on Sunday, DeSantis made no mention of Trump or the “Ron DeSantimonos” moniker, opting instead to criticize President Joe Biden and the so-called “Ron DeSantis” moniker “wake up” to leave.

DeSantis describes himself as a fighter who has stood up against medical experts and criticism during the pandemic to reopen the state and ban the authorization of a coronavirus vaccine, echoing the sentiment in a campaign ad, DeSantis said. Santis implied in the ad that God fought for Florida.

However, his biggest cheer came when the Florida governor told how he arranged to send nearly 50 immigrants from Florida to Martha’s Vineyard from Texas, a stunt that faced intense scrutiny and laws challenge.

If they do go head-to-head in the primary, the two candidates could find themselves in similar financial situations. DeSantis has raised $200 million through his two political committees this campaign cycle and spent just over half that, leaving the super PAC with about $90 million in potential seed funding. At the end of October, Trump was sitting on about $117 million between his three active fundraising vehicles, according to federal election data.

CNN reported this week that Trump’s pre-election trip was at least in part because he wanted to launch a third campaign for the White House. In fact, during a visit to Iowa on Thursday, Trump told voters in the nation’s first caucus state to “get ready” for his return as a presidential candidate. Trump stopped Saturday in Pennsylvania — the site of a bitter Senate race between his supporters, Republican Mohamed Oz and Democrat John Fettman — where he will be in Ohio In the run-up to the election, the former president backed Republican JD Vance Tim Ryan in a Senate race against Democrats.

But the planned Florida rally is also widely seen as a shooting in DeSantis. Trump first announced last week his intention to hold a rally for U.S. senators. Marco Rubio is in South Florida, leaving DeSantis clearly beyond his plans. Since then, the list of guest speakers has expanded to include the state’s junior Senator Rick Scott, as well as more than a dozen other elected officials and candidates from across the state.

The decision to hold a rally in Miami-Dade County comes amid optimism from Republicans that they will take the Democratic stronghold for the first time in 20 years. The investment Republicans made to tap into the region’s Hispanic community paid off in the recent election, and the party is seeing a wave of enthusiasm that is turning the state even more red. Republicans will have the edge on voter registration on Election Day for the first time in modern Florida political history.

Before his arrival, Trump had already taken credit for the shift.

“President Trump delivered a historic red wave in Florida in the 2018 midterm elections, his roster swung up and down the ballot, and shaped the Sunshine State into the MAGA stronghold it is today,” Trump Saves America PAC’s announcement said. “Thanks to President Trump, Florida is no longer a purple state; it’s a red state number one in America.”

While DeSantis has started his own out-of-state campaign for Republican candidates, including a recent rally in New York for Republican gubernatorial candidate Li Zeldin, he is in Florida with Democrat Charlie Chriss The last days of the campaign. His campaign has 13 events scheduled between Friday and Monday. On the final day, DeSantis plans to stop in Palm Beach, Trump’s adoptive hometown, and Miami-Dade, not far from Trump’s Sunday event.

On the campaign trail, DeSantis didn’t talk about Trump, but he made frequent references to President Joe Biden in his remarks as a preview of what a presidential campaign against incumbent Democrats might look like.

At an event in central Florida on Thursday, DeSantis called Biden a “reverse midas king.”

“Biden touched it and turned it into something worse than (gold),” DeSantis said. “It’s frustrating that a lot of people, the vast majority of Americans, they think this country has had its best days. They think we’re obviously going the wrong way. But you know, I think Florida offers what other states can do A blueprint for emulation.”

This story has been updated with more information on Sunday.

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