Florida’s hard right Governor Ron DeSantis was already a “lame duck.” He returned from a failed presidential campaign “as a duck with two crutches”. He retreated to the Governor’s Mansion. Others suspended their campaigns facing supporters, friends and the media. Known for not likely to mingle he taped a message to say good-bye.
Polls clearly pointed to trouble for DeSantis facing former President Trump in Florida’s March GOP primary. I would suggest he did not want to face further embarrassment and send a message he was a failure. He still has over three years as Governor.
Plus, such a move feeds into the rumor of running his wife Casey for Governor in 2028. Thus, he quickly endorsed Trump. This opened the door for Florida Republican legislators, party types and others to endorse Trump. No doubt they were afraid what he would do to them had they endorsed Trump earlier.
After spending well over $100 million he leaves the race without having won even one delegate. Even Texas Governor John Connelly got one delegate in 1980 spending $11 million. Any knowledgeable political observer could have foretold the outcome of DeSantis’ campaign. His “Never Back Down” effort started too late, had no strategy, never fought off early Trump’s charges of “betrayal” and believed it could run to the right of Trump.
Once out on the stump he struggled with personal interactions. DeSantis practice in Florida was to make pronouncements from behind a podium and retreat. It does not work that way in “primetime.” Worse yet when DeSantis spoke on the campaign trail he gave long policy speeches and spoke down to his audience…with lengthy patriotic history lessons.
DeSantis campaign approach just did not work. The “Never Back Down” PAC took total control, hired too many staff and never stopped spending. This led to fights between the PAC and his campaign. I lost count of the organization’s resets.
Well, at least America has been spared of his hard right policies. Let’s hope those of us in Florida are spared as well.