DeSantis stumps for GOP candidates amid 2024 speculation

Politics

(NewsNation) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is making moves in Trump territory.

As the Republican governor and possible 2024 presidential contender raises his profile, he’s emerging as a major rival to the former president.

In the battle for influence within the GOP, DeSantis is leaving the Sunshine State for the campaign trail and stumping for conservative candidates in two key races — both of them closely aligned with Trump.

On Thursday, DeSantis threw his support behind Doug Mastriano, a Republican gubernatorial candidate in Pennsylvania. Later, he threw his weight down behind J.D. Vance, who is running for the U.S. Senate in Ohio.

Both Vance and Mastriano won their primaries with a big boost from Trump. Early on in the campaign trail, Mastriano cited DeSantis as a model but promised to do him one better.

“We see states where they had good policies like Ron DeSantis in Florida,” he said. “I’m going to make Ron DeSantis look like an amateur because we’re an energy producer, we’re gonna roll back regulations.”

Both Mastriano and Vance welcomed the added support from DeSantis on Thursday as he raises his party profile heading into 2024.

And he’s already showing strength.

He finished second — behind Trump — earlier this month in a CPAC straw poll.

Now, he’s testing his influence on the road with stops in Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Mexico and Arizona.

While the Florida governor isn’t speaking out against the former president, he isn’t going out of his way to promote him, either.

“The raid of MAL (Mar-a-Lago) is another escalation in the weaponization of federal agencies against the Regime’s political opponents, while people like Hunter Biden get treated with kid gloves,” he wrote on Twitter. “Now the Regime is getting another 87k IRS agents to wield against its adversaries? Banana Republic.”

Another thing DeSantis won’t say is if he thinks the 2020 election was rigged — a stark difference from Trump.

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