A new poll finds that since January, Republicans in Florida have significantly changed their presidential preference, with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis now holding virtually the same lead over former President Donald Trump that Trump held over him then.
In January, Trump led DeSantis in the USA Today/Suffolk University poll of 2024 presidential prospective candidates 47%-40%, but the latest poll shows DeSantis with a 48%-40% lead.
“It is one data point suggesting a shift in preferences from GOP voters away from Trump and toward DeSantis from Republicans who know both potential combatants quite well,” David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, explained to USA Today.
DeSantis has raised a massive $177.4 million, more than any other governor in history. Open Secrets reported that a review of state campaign finance records showed DeSantis’ re-election campaign has raised more than $31.4 million since January 2021, while DeSantis’ state-level PAC, Friends of Ron DeSantis, has raised $146 million.
DeSantis is not being stingy with his money as he is giving millions to help down-ballot Republicans to further increase GOP majorities in the state legislature. Trump, on the other hand, is not shelling out large sums of money to help Republican candidates — at least not yet — as Republican leaders are trying to get him to financially boost the campaigns of Republican candidates that are falling behind.
On Sunday, DeSantis received a standing ovation at a rally in Kansas when he alluded to his transportation of 50 illegal immigrants from Florida to the wealthy leftist enclave of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.
DeSantis made his remarks at a rally in Olathe, Kansas, for Kansas state Attorney General Derek Schmidt, the GOP gubernatorial candidate. The arrival of the immigrants and the subsequent effort to get them transported posthaste from the wealthy island dominated the news last week.
“The one place in the country where we see virtually no law and order is at the southern border. And this is a crisis,” DeSantis said, before saying with a grin. “It’s now getting a little more attention.”
That prompted a standing ovation from the crowd as DeSantis insisted, “This is a crisis. It is a crisis. And it’s a manufactured crisis because of Biden’s failed policies.”
In late August, with the combined effort of DeSantis and the 1776 Project PAC to buttress them, conservative candidates across the state of Florida flipped many school boards from blue to red in the state election.
DeSantis had crisscrossed the state stumping for conservative candidates in school board races while the 1776 Project PAC issued a list of their endorsed candidates. DeSantis endorsed 30 candidates and 25 of them won or advanced.
“We were able to win school board victories all across the state of Florida,” DeSantis said in the aftermath of the election. “Parents are sick of the nonsense when it comes to education.”
Ryan Saavedra contributed to this article.