The lackluster performance of former President Donald Trump’s endorsed candidates in key races last week is leading some Republicans to reignite plans to boost a potential 2024 presidential run from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
While DeSantis has not announced any intention to run, GOP strategist John Thomas is moving forward with plans to open a Ron to the Rescue super PAC aimed at supporting a presidential run from the popular governor. Trump, who faced waves of criticism following last week’s election, is expected to announce his candidacy on Tuesday.
“This feels to me very much like 2008 where DeSantis is Obama and then Trump is Hillary,” Thomas told Insider on Friday. “Ron vs. the Don. I’m here for it.”
“The electorate was ready for a bright, fresh new face that can transform American politics and most importantly: win,” he said of 2008.
While Trump’s candidates lost key races, DeSantis carried his election by 20 points and led Republicans in the state to overwhelming victories. Republicans were widely expected to make significant gains in the House of Representatives and perhaps take the Senate, but the losses by Trump-endorsed candidates in Arizona, Pennsylvania and elsewhere have ushered in a Democratic Senate and a toss-up in the House.
Many conservative commentators took the election results as a sign it was time for the GOP to move on from Trump. Commentators argued that Trump had endorsed outlandish candidates who turned easy victories into close races, and close races into losses.
“All the chatter on my conservative and GOP channels is rage at Trump like I’ve never seen,” Michael Brendan Dougherty, a senior writer at National Review, wrote on Twitter. “‘The one guy he attacked before Election Day was DeSantis — the clear winner, meanwhile, all his guys are s—ing the bed.'”
Trump lashed out at DeSantis in a rambling statement last week, arguing that he had received more votes in Florida’s 2020 presidential election than DeSantis had on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Trump allies have sought to blame Senate Majority Mitch McConnell for the lost Senate races, arguing he misallocate funding for the candidates.