Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis reacted to a straw poll showing him in the lead against former President Donald Trump for the nomination in a potential 2024 presidential run.
The poll was held at the 2022 Western Conservative Summit Saturday where DeSantis acquired 71% support while Trump held nearly 68% favorability. Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz came in third with 29% approval. A reporter asked the governor whether he has decided to run for president.
“I don’t do straw polls,” DeSantis responded. “They just put my name to these things, you know? So, what am I supposed to do? Like they sell merchandise and everything. I’d kind of like to get royalties on that.”
A Wednesday straw poll conducted at the Wisconsin Republican Convention found DeSantis narrowly leading Trump for the nomination in a potential 2024 presidential race. DeSantis held 38% while the former president acquired 32%.
A 2021 Western Conservative Summit straw poll found DeSantis leading Trump as a popular 2024 Republican nominee at 74%, while Trump came in second with 71% support. (RELATED: Why Ron DeSantis Is The Future Of The Republican Party)
“There is no real party standard-bearer at the moment, and DeSantis in many eyes is starting to define the post-Trump party,” Tyler Sandberg, a Colorado Republican operative, told Politico. “He fights more about policy and less on his Twitter account.”
“It did not surprise me that DeSantis did well, but, yeah, it kind of surprised me that he did better than President Trump, again,” Dick Wadhams, a former chair of the Colorado Republican Party, said, according to Politico. “I go to a lot of Republican events and have sensed for some time that even with Republicans DeSantis has quite an appeal because of his success as governor of Florida.”
Trump won the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) straw poll with 59% support in February for the second year in a row, and DeSantis trailed behind him with 28%. The former president has repeatedly hinted at a 2024 run, telling interviewers a lot of people are going to “to be very, very happy.”
The governor has held back from questions regarding a potential 2024 run, telling the Daily Caller News Foundation in 2021 that he is focused on his own state. He has become popular among conservative voters due to his opposition to COVID-19 protocols, including mask mandates and school closures, by signing an executive order in July 2021 to ban mandating masks in schools.
He also passed the “Parental Rights in Education” bill enacted to prohibit discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in K-3 classrooms, which has gained widespread support among many conservatives. He then vetoed $35 million in funding to a new Tampa Bay Rays sports training and youth tournament facility after tweeting about their contribution to a pro-gun control group, saying it is “inappropriate to subsidize political activism.”