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Tags: battleground | gop | primary | 2024 | ron desantis

Gov. Ron DeSantis to Newsmax: I'm Strong in All Key Battlegrounds

By    |   Friday, 05 May 2023 08:00 PM EDT

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis made his strongest case yet for his 2024 GOP primary campaign, taking a veiled shot at his chief rival, former President Donald Trump, in an exclusive interview Friday with Newsmax.

Without officially declaring his candidacy and saying he stopped talking to Trump after the "DeSanctimonious" mocking during the 2022 midterms, DeSantis told John Bachman in a 24-minute interview that aired on "Eric Bolling The Balance," he can win the general election where Trump failed to in 2020: the key battleground states.

"Take the polling with a grain of salt this early; but what they've show consistently in the swing states is that we beat [President Joe] Biden in places like Georgia, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada," DeSantis said, pointing to key states Trump challenged to try to keep Biden from the White House.

"These are places where you need to win to be able to win the Electoral College."

DeSantis said he does not "remember" when he last spoke to Trump, but he knows he has not spoken with the former president since the criticism in the 2022 midterm cycle. Trump called him "Ron DeSanctimonious" for campaign ads in Florida that hailed the successful GOP governor as having been delivered for Florida by the hand of God.

"I definitely haven't talked to him during the 2022 fall campaign," DeSantis said. "You know, he took some shots at me before the election and then afterwards. So we just haven't had communication since that point."

But Florida has become the "trailblazer" for Republican leadership after a blowout victory in the state, DeSantis said.

"The Republican Party had a bad midterm election overall," DeSantis lamented to Bachman, speaking to Newsmax on the final day of Florida's landmark legislative session. "It was disappointing. We've had losses over the last few years."

DeSantis is not ready to commit to a 2024 GOP primary campaign just yet, but he did give his best hint on when that decision is likely to come.

"That's going to take a little more time," DeSantis said, referring to the Florida budget being his next priority after closing the 2023 spring legislative session.

"And then when we get on the other side of that, we will be able to make any announcements as appropriate. I just tell people to stay tuned, and we'll let you know."

Among the legislative acts DeSantis signed into law was a "clearing the air" of Florida's resign to run law, which he was adamant did not apply to a presidential or vice presidential run, but his GOP-held supermajorities moved legislation to make things clear to avoid future lawsuits and court challenges.

"All they did is clarify," DeSantis said, adding, "but it was our view that it really didn't matter either way. It was just a question of do you want lawsuits?

"It may not be me; it may be somebody else.

"The operation of the law has actually not changed, and it was always that way."

Still, the biggest fight looming is the 2024 battle for the White House, which will not be easy, according to DeSantis.

"The country looks at Biden, they see somebody that's failed," he said. "They think the country's going in the wrong direction — which I do, too — and they would like a path forward that can put us in a new direction.

"So I think somebody like me in Florida that's had success kind of fits that bill.

"But there's a lot of real estate left to go. And as much as I don't think that Biden's good — and a lot of people, you know — he's got a lot of people that will support him. The media will be behind him.

"He's got a lot of arteries of the left that will be behind him. So I don't think any of this stuff will be easy, no matter who that candidate is."

But, DeSantis admitted, his successes in Florida have positioned him well financially. A lot of rich people moved to the state and like what they have moved into, he said.

"We've been able to build up a great army in Florida. We've gained so much wealth that people came in my reelection," according to DeSantis, saying, "'You know what? I want to do whatever I can to help you, because I don't want to have to move again.'

"And they understand that in '18, Florida came very close to going in a much different direction."

Trump backers are attacking DeSantis before he gets into the race — including Trump saying the governor is "disloyal" after he allegedly saved him from a 2018 gubernatorial primary defeat and saying DeSantis once tried to cut Social Security.

"Those are Democrat attacks," DeSantis told Bachman. "I don't think that anyone really buys that.

"One thing that has caused a problem with Social Security is the Bidenflation. You do the cost of living, so that's been really bad."

As for taking on the personal costs of running for president, DeSantis was still attempting to send a mixed signal.

"It's really fun just being a parent," he said of himself and his wife Casey. "This job, there's a lot to go on with this. And I had a campaign in '22 and all this stuff.

"When we don't have those obligations, what do we want to do? We want to be with the kids, and we want to be parents."


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Eric Mack

Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis made his strongest case yet for his 2024 GOP primary campaign, taking a veiled shot at his chief rival, former President Donald Trump, in an exclusive interview Friday with Newsmax.
battleground, gop, primary, 2024, ron desantis
Friday, 05 May 2023 08:00 PM
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