Amid increasing speculation about the future of the Republican Party, GOP Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to cement his reputation as potentially strongt contender, narrowly topping former President Donald Trump in the 2024 straw poll conducted at the Western Conservative Summit this weekend, as The Hill reports.
The survey itself was an in-person poll taken of the nearly 500 attendees at the conference as well as those engaged with the events online, all of whom were asked to indicate which of 31 possible candidates – Republicans and Democrats – of whom they approve, as Fox News noted.
When poll participants were asked whether they would be able to throw their support behind DeSantis for president in the next election cycle, 74.12% answered in the affirmative, while 71.43 who indicated a willingness to support Trump.
Of note is the fact that DeSantis and Trump came in well ahead of their nearest competitor, as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) notched support from just 42.86 of those who participated, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earned 39.35% support, and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) secured 35.58% approval.
The Florida governor’s political star has risen significantly over the past year for – among other things – easing coronavirus restrictions far sooner than his counterparts in other states, cracking down on big tech censorship, fighting back against the introduction of critical race theory into public school classrooms, and signing enhanced election integrity measures into law, as the New York Post noted.
Despite the high profile he has achieved over the course of the pandemic, DeSantis has yet to indicate whether he has any plans to run for the White House in 2024, or even if he would be interested in serving as another candidate’s running mate.
Trump, for his part, has not committed to a decision regarding 2024, but has continued to tease a possible run in a number of public appearances and statements. He has also made no secret of the fact that if he were to seek another term in the Oval Office, DeSantis is someone he would consider for the number-two spot on the ticket.
In an interview with Fox Business host Stuart Varney earlier this month, Trump discussed the possibility of such a tandem, saying, “Sure I would…I would certainly consider Ron,” adding, I was the first one to endorse him when he came out as a congressman that a lot of people didn’t know, and my endorsement helped him tremendously. And I know him very well. He’s a great guy.”
The former president has given some interesting clues as to his possible plans for the coming years, telling conservative commentator Candace Owens earlier this year that when it comes to the idea of running again, “I’m absolutely enthused. I look forward to doing an announcement at the right time. As you know, it’s very early. But I think people are going to be very, very happy when I make a certain announcement,” as The Hill reported at the time.