Politics /

Report: DeSantis Quietly Pressuring Florida Congress Members To Stop Endorsing Trump

GOP consultant said Rep. Byron Donalds' 'endorsement of the former president undoubtedly rattled some cages'

Though Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has yet to formally announce his candidacy in the 2024 presidential election, members of his team are reportedly contacting Republican congressional members in the state to try and stem the tide of endorsements going to former President Donald Trump.

So far, four of Florida’s 20 congressional officials have backed Trump. None have yet endorsed DeSantis, who is down roughly 30-points behind Trump in polling for the Republican nomination.

The effort by DeSantis’ team began after Rep. Byron Donalds, who has been a DeSantis ally, publicly endorsed Trump, according to sources who spoke with NBC News.

After Donalds supported Trump, the Desantis team called at least six members of Florida’s congressional delegation, requesting they now make any endorsements in the near future, NBC reported.

NBC also says that Ryan Tyson, a veteran GOP pollster and DeSantis ally, has led the effort, reaching out to members to schedule future calls between them and DeSantis.

“There is clearly some angst from the DeSantis camp that so many members of the state’s congressional delegation are throwing their support behind Trump,” said a GOP consultant for one of the members contacted by DeSantis’ team. “Gaetz going with Trump is one thing, but Byron’s endorsement of the former president undoubtedly rattled some cages.”

According to the report, Donalds’ endorsement was more significant than the other congressional endorsements considering the DeSantis administration allocated billions of dollars after Hurricane Ian to an area Donalds represents, as well as DeSantis being a supporter of an initiative by Donalds’ wife to seat conservative members on local school boards.

As of April 12, FiveThirtyEight polling shows Trump receiving 49.3 percent of the national vote, with DeSantis receiving 26.2 percent if the Republican primary were held today.

A poll from Morning Consult the same week showed Trump carrying 56 percent of the vote and DeSantis with 23 percent, a 33-point lead.

Newly formed pro-DeSantis political action committee Never Back Down has taken in more than $30 million in donations since its launch on March 9.

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