Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis chuckled at the notion of a run for The White House Thursday, a day after a poll of Republicans from the early primary state of New Hampshire shows DeSantis stacking up strongly against former President Donald Trump.
"What is this obsession with '24?" Desantis said, referring to the 2024 presidential election.
He fielded the question about his political future while at a news conference at the Broward Health Sports Medicine facility, where he announced record funding to tackle Alzheimer’s disease.
The survey of likely GOP primary voters shows DeSantis being their first choice candidate, with 39% versus Trump’s 37%, a statistical tie given the margin of error of 5.5%.
NBC 6 political analyst Carlos Curbelo said those numbers are telling.
"Of course it is early, but the big news here is that Donald Trump apparently is no longer the singular dominant force in the Republican Party,” said Curbelo. "He has some competition and he hasn't had competition at least since 2016 when he won the presidency.”
The governor reacted to the poll by pointing to his record.
"We just did major, major initiatives through the budget, I did record budget vetoes, record surplus, huge initiatives in education, environment, obviously health care," said Desantis.
The University of New Hampshire poll was done this month, and shows DeSantis making tremendous gains on Trump.
That's because the very same poll, done October of last year, showed the former president with a sizable edge - 43% over DeSantis' 18%.
For DeSantis, that’s an impressive 21 percentage point gain in some eight months.
"Unlike other Republicans who have said 'if Donald Trump runs for president I will not run in the 2024 primary,' Ron DeSantis has made no such pledge,” said Curbelo. "A lot of people think that he is going to run regardless of what Mr. Trump decides to do, so that would certainly make for a major clash: two Floridians now, going mano a mano for the Republican nomination for President."
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