When DeSantis first announced, he had significant backing from state and local government officials in Florida.
That, according to Trump’s campaign, is about to change.
When he first announced, DeSantis had 99 state legislators that immediately endorsed him.
Since that happened, Donald Trump, who puts significant weight into endorsements, had his team go to work to try to flip them.
Trump went on the attack to take down DeSantis, who was close to even with Trump in polling at the time, and his allies started working on that support.
According to sources close to Trump, some of those legislators are now ready to flip.
The source stated:
“It’s coming. Exact number not yet said, but it will be close to 10.”
Trump is hitting the gas pedal a little harder this weekend, throwing a big event at Mar-a-Lago to honor the “Republican Party of Florida.”
Trump is holding his event the day after the debate, which is strategically planned to steal any possible thunder that DeSantis gets from the third debate.
After the rumors started to fly about the defections from Ron DeSantis, the DeSantis camp fired right back.
Andrew Romeo, communications director for the DeSantis campaign, stated:
“Ron DeSantis has more endorsements from state legislators than the former president in Iowa (41), New Hampshire (62), and South Carolina (16). He also has the support of almost all Florida elected officials because he worked with them to deliver historic results for the conservative movement.
“The governor will win his home state because Floridians want to see a fighter who will bring the same type of results-oriented leadership to Washington that he has provided in the Sunshine State.”
Trump is doing this to try to hurt DeSantis during this home stretch.
While Trump has a massive lead in every poll, there is something that is clearly bothering him about DeSantis that he feels the need to continue to go after him, and it is not just his ego.
I think this is both due to campaign fundraising as well as polling if this race goes heads up. Trump would still be ahead, but that lead gets cut considerably, especially if Haley decides to team up with DeSantis.
I thought that would be a lock at one point, as it just made sense for both of them, but Haley has started to attack DeSantis using Trump talking points, even the silly ones, such as DeSantis having lifts in his cowboy boots.
Trump is outraising all of the other candidates, but most of his campaign cash is going to pay legal bills, and that will continue to be the case as Trump has only just started his trials.
Stealing these endorsements is just another strike that Trump gets to deliver to DeSantis to try to get him to end his campaign, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.
DeSantis will ride this out through Super Tuesday, at least, so expect Trump to continue the full-court press against DeSantis for the duration.