DeSantis Says Florida's Not Competitive at Top of Ticket; Seeks to Help Trump Campaign Nationally

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The Florida Republican governor, who suspended his presidential campaign on January 21, told NewsNation political reporter Libby Dean that he does not anticipate joining Donald Trump on the campaign trail in Florida this year – because it won’t be needed.

“This is not going to be a state that’s competitive in November, and that’s just the reality,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis, who finished third in Tuesday’s Florida Republican presidential primary, as his name remained on the ballot.

Trump won all 125 delegates up for grabs in the primary with 82 percent of the vote, followed by former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley at 14 percent and DeSantis at four percent. Haley has also suspended her campaign.


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Dean asked DeSantis if he expected to join Donald Trump on the campaign trail before November.

“I don’t anticipate there being much campaign here [Florida] for the top of the ticket,” DeSantis said.

The governor responded to Dean’s question at an event at the Santorini by Georgios restaurant in Miami Beach.

In the 14 presidential elections, beginning in 1968, Republicans have won Florida 10 times. Democrats who won the state were: James E. Carter, 1976; William J. Clinton, 1996; and Barack H. Obama, 2008 and 2012.

Trump won the state in 2016 with 49 percent and in 2020 with 51 percent.

“One of the interesting things about this state—before I came on the scene—was a one-point state,” the governor said. “It is no longer a one-point state. That is just the reality.”

The governor won his office in 2018 with 50 percent of the vote and by just more than 30,000 votes, but in 2022 won a second term with 19 percent and a margin of roughly 1.5 million votes.

DeSantis said he expects to be active in Florida campaigns.

“I do think there are going to be some local races that will be very important that we’ll be involved with,” he said.

“And then how I can help nationally, I want to be able to do that—I don’t know exactly—but, normally, in these elections in Florida, you would never want to leave Florida.”

Trump changed his primary residence in September 2019 from Manhattan to Palm Beach, Florida, the site of his Mar-a-Lago resort club.

When DeSantis suspended his presidential campaign, he endorsed Trump and slammed fellow candidate Nikki Haley.

“It’s clear to me that a majority of Republican primary voters want to give Donald Trump another chance,” he said.

“He has my endorsement because we can’t go back to the old Republican guard of yesteryear, a repackaged form of warmed-over corporatism that Nikki Haley represents.”

Unlike DeSantis, Haley has not yet endorsed Trump. Instead, in her March 6 remarks to supporters, she said it was up to Trump to win over her supporters.

“It is now up to Donald Trump to earn the votes of those in our party and beyond it who did not support him, and I hope he does that,” she said.

Editor’s Note: This article was updated post-publication to reflect the correct location of the speech in question.

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