In Florida, a political shift is underway. The Republican Party, once firmly aligned with Governor Ron DeSantis, is now turning its gaze towards former President Donald Trump.
According to NBC News, Trump allies in the state are organizing an effort to flip Republican lawmakers from DeSantis endorsers to Trump supporters.
This move comes amidst the Florida Freedom Summit, which will feature all major Republican presidential candidates, and the upcoming third Republican presidential debate in Miami.
“It’s coming,” the source familiar with the changes told NBC News. “Exact number not yet said, but it will be close to 10.”
The Growing Support for Trump
The momentum for Trump in Florida has been building steadily. He quickly secured the endorsements of most of the state’s Republican members of Congress.
In September, party leaders voted to eliminate the requirement that GOP presidential candidates support the eventual nominee, a move supported by Trump but not by DeSantis.
This decision signaled a significant shift in the Florida GOP’s alignment towards Trump. Trump’s influence is further evidenced by his invitation to host a reception at Mar-a-Lago, a gathering to honor Florida GOP leaders, the day after the third Republican debate.
A Solid Approach to Grassroots Leaders
Trump’s strategy to win over grassroots leaders in Florida has been effective. Prior to the repeal of the loyalty oath, state executive committee members were invited to a Mar-a-Lago event.
This move was seen as a lobbying technique to sway them towards eliminating the loyalty oath, a tactic that ultimately proved successful. Trump’s decision to host a similar gathering once again underscores his dominance of the Republican Party in Florida and solidifies his takeover of DeSantis’ home state party.
The Speaking Schedule: A Sign of Trump’s Dominance
The speaking schedule for the Florida GOP summit speaks volumes about Trump’s influence and the support he enjoys within the party.
While DeSantis will be speaking midday Saturday, Trump secured the coveted slot as the keynote speaker. This contrast is not only noteworthy because it’s an event hosted by the state party, but also because DeSantis has invested heavily in strengthening the party during his tenure as governor. His efforts, which include raising $4 million for voter registration, have significantly bolstered the Republican Party in Florida.
Eroding Support for DeSantis
Despite DeSantis’ endorsements from 99 Republicans in the Legislature, signs of an eroding base of support have emerged. State Representative Randy Fine, the lone Jewish Republican in the Legislature, recently flipped his endorsement from DeSantis to Trump.
Fine cited DeSantis’ response to the terrorist attacks in Israel as the reason behind his change of heart.
This endorsement flip is indicative of a growing sentiment among members that Trump will be the Republican nominee for president in 2024. State Representative Juan Carlos Porras echoed this sentiment, expressing his commitment to working towards Trump’s victory in the upcoming election.
Trump’s Counterprogramming Event
In a move that further diverts attention from the third GOP debate, Trump has decided to hold a counterprogramming event in nearby Hialeah. This decision marks his absence from all three debates, highlighting his confidence in his position as the frontrunner.
Trump’s opponents will have limited opportunities to regain momentum as he continues to dominate the political landscape in Florida.
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