Say what you will about President Trump’s leadership or personal foibles. What can’t be denied is that his endorsement still carries clout with Republican voters, a fact reiterated by a resounding victory in the Florida gubernatorial primary Tuesday night. Congressman Ron DeSantis is projected to defeat Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam by double digits.
Putnam led the polls early by double digits and had a large lead in the money race before Trump’s endorsement. After the endorsement, DeSantis quickly took the lead and never looked back, though recent polls showed the margin shrinking. The vote told a different story.
President Trump’s favored candidate, Rep. Ron DeSantis, will defeat state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in Florida’s Republican gubernatorial primary after a contentious and expensive intraparty fight, the Fox News Decision Desk projects.
Ahead of Tuesday’s vote, the president repeatedly implored voters to support the conservative lawmaker. DeSantis enthusiastically embraced Trump’s endorsement.
DeSantis apparently won over the President on a flight with him on Air Force One where he told DeSantis, “You’re my guy.” The White House quickly denied the President would endorse anyone in the race, but then the President Tweeted his support just before Christmas last year.
Congressman Ron DeSantis is a brilliant young leader, Yale and then Harvard Law, who would make a GREAT Governor of Florida. He loves our Country and is a true FIGHTER!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 22, 2017
DeSantis, a Tea Party conservative, does not fit the mold of previous Trump favorites. The only thing that made him seem like the kind of guy Trump could support was his outspoken praise of the President and his agenda. Loyalty is something the President holds dearest. If he wins in November, we’ll see if his support for some of the President’s less conservative views continue.
Then again, he may start positioning himself for something bigger.
Let me be the first to say that if @RepDeSantis becomes governor of Florida, he could potentially be a solid prospect for president down the road.
— Daniel Horowitz (@RMConservative) August 28, 2018