Pro-DeSantis PAC Issues Unusually Blunt Assessment

Spokesman sees Trump as 'runaway frontrunner,' but Florida governor shrugs off the gap
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 7, 2023 11:43 AM CDT
Even DeSantis' Super PAC Is Worried About the Polls
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his wife, Casey, walk in the July 4th parade in Merrimack, N.H.   (AP Photo/Reba Saldanha, File)

Try as he might, Ron DeSantis can't seem to gain any ground on former President Trump in the polls. So much so that the spokesman for the main super PAC supporting the Florida governor delivered an unusually frank assessment of the race by referring to Trump as the "runaway frontrunner," reports the Hill. "Right now in national polling we are way behind, I'll be the first to admit that," said Steve Cortes of the Never Back Down super PAC. DeSantis, he added, had an "uphill battle" ahead of him. A look at related coverage:

  • Blame game: In an interview with Fox News, DeSantis blamed his poll numbers on the media, notes Florida Politics. "Well, I think if you look at the people like the corporate media, who are they going after, who do they not want to be the nominee?" he asked. "They're going after me."
  • Blame game, II: In the same interview, DeSantis also faulted Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador for calling on US citizens not to vote for him. "Who's the president of Mexico attacking because he knows we'll be strong on the border and hold him accountable in the cartels?" DeSantis asked. "He's going after me."

  • Big picture: The campaign doesn't appear to be gaining traction, writes Nicholas Nehamas at the New York Times, adding that the governor getting drenched in a July 4th parade in New Hampshire seemed a fitting symbol of things at the moment. "They realize they're in a hole," a GOP strategist tells the Hill. "They realize they can potentially win this and they are the only other game in town, but again, they are in a big hole."
  • A counter: DeSantis shrugged off the short-term poll stagnation in his Fox interview, saying he is "running to win in January and February." He also pointed to a healthy $20 million campaign haul in the six weeks since he formally launched. (The AP calls the sum "formidable.")
  • Video controversy: Another DeSantis story making headlines of late was a controversial video he released criticizing Trump for the latter's support of LGBTQ issues over the years. The conservative Log Cabin Republicans group, among others, denounced the video as homophobic, though DeSantis defended it as "fair game," per the AP. The intent, he said, was "identifying Donald Trump as really being a pioneer in injecting gender ideology into the mainstream where he was having men compete against women in his beauty pageants." The Trump campaign dismissed it as "a desperate DeSanctus campaign, with a flailing candidate, in its last throes of relevancy."
(More Ron DeSantis 2024 stories.)

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