Though a lot of oxygen has been sucked out of the 2024 GOP presidential campaign room by the Trump indictment/arraignment news, shockingly enough the other GOP presidential candidates out there are still trying to make their respective cases to Republican voters in hopes they can break through at some point despite the current “Trump bump” in polls.
One of them, of course, is Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who in primary polling has thus far been finishing a distant second behind the former president, though national general election polls have shown DeSantis and Trump both being competitive and with the ability to defeat the current Oval Office occupant Joe Biden and, alternatively, Vice President Kamala Harris should Joe Biden have to bow out and Harris win the Democrat nomination.
But while the Usual Suspects are continuing their attempts at dooming and glooming the DeSantis campaign, which is in part their way of trying to pick the Republican nominee themselves, DeSantis’ foot remains firmly on the gas pedal, campaigning in Nevada over the weekend before traveling to California, home of DeSantis’ second most prominent critic – Gov. Gavin Newsom.
His first stop, Newsom’s neck of the woods for a fundraiser:
Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, who is running for the Republican presidential nomination, took his campaign into the backyard of his most vocal Democratic critic on Monday, courting donors at an event near the home of Gov. Gavin Newsom of California weeks after sending two planeloads of migrants to California’s capital.
The $3,300-a-plate fund-raiser, hosted by a Republican real estate developer at a suburban country club in Sacramento, was closed to the press, and Mr. DeSantis did not make a public statement. But the location itself underscored the tit-for-tat that has escalated for more than a year between the two governors, who have increasingly used each other as political foils.
DeSantis’ trip to the Golden State follows comments he made about Newsom in response to Newsom trying to further elevate his national profile at DeSantis’ expense, including challenging DeSantis to a debate even though the California governor is not in the race himself.
“Stop pussy footing around! Are you gonna throw your hat in the ring and challenge Joe?” DeSantis responded at the time during a speech in Fort Pierce, Florida. “Or are you gonna sit on the sidelines and chirp?”
As DeSantis was making his mark Monday in the state Newsom, at least on paper, is charged with “leading,” his campaign put out an ad blistering Newsom over the mass exodus that is occurring there over issues like the high cost of living, out of control crime, and rampant homelessness while contrasting it with the Sunshine State. Included in the ad were video clips of the speech DeSantis gave at the Reagan Library in March where he also drew contrasts between his leadership style and Newsom’s.
“We have had a great experiment, a great test in governance philosophies,” DeSantis said during the March speech. “If you look over the last four years, we’ve witnessed a great American exodus from states governed by leftist politicians imposing leftist ideology and delivering poor results.”
Newsom vs. DeSantis is, in my opinion, the general election match-up that America on down the line needs to see because DeSantis is just the guy who could cut the “slick” Newsom down to size as he epitomizes everything DeSantis and conservatives fight against on a daily basis. It would be a fascinating study in stark political contrasts the likes of which we haven’t seen for some time.
Further, while DeSantis stands by his record as governor, Newsom tends to sugarcoat his when he’s not playing fast and loose with the facts about what he’s done, and that’s something that would be easy enough to call out.
But in 2024, such a match-up is not meant to be because barring anything unforeseen, Newsom is going to bide his time until 2028. And what will happen to DeSantis in 2024 remains to be seen.
That said, a 2028 match-up between the two – though a long way off – would be more than worth waiting for. As they say, stay tuned.