In a potential political shakeup, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has officially joined the race for the White House in 2024, setting the stage for a face-off with former President Trump, the current GOP frontrunner who still holds a strong grip on the party’s base.

A new survey from the strategically significant primary state of South Carolina paints a clear picture of the challenge DeSantis faces. It reveals a substantial 25-point lead for Trump, indicating the stronghold the former president continues to maintain among the GOP base. As Newsmax rightly points out, the South Carolina primaries on Feb. 24, following those in Iowa and New Hampshire, are considered a crucial step towards securing the GOP’s nomination.

National Research Inc.‘s recent poll for American Greatness illustrates the uphill battle for DeSantis. Among likely Republican voters in the Palmetto State, Trump leads the pack with 43 percent, while DeSantis trails behind at 18 percent. South Carolina Senator Tim Scott and former Governor Nikki Haley also lag with 12 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

Interestingly, Haley was the first to announce her presidential bid after Trump declared his candidacy last November. Scott followed suit, joining the race ahead of DeSantis’ formal launch.

This poll further broke down voters’ preferences among the GOP candidates. Likely Republican voters gave Trump a resounding endorsement when asked about improving the economy (60% to 11%), providing a stronger voice against far-left progressives (42% to 20%), and showing more compassion for their needs (36% to 19%).

Following his official campaign kick-off, DeSantis praised Trump’s past presidential achievements during his guesting on Newsmax TV’s “Eric Bolling The Balance.” He emphasized that most of their voters appreciated Trump’s accomplishments, particularly his economic feats in his first three years.

Despite a rocky start, DeSantis‘ campaign demonstrated impressive fundraising prowess. The Florida governor raked in a whopping $8.2 million within the first 24 hours post-announcement. This figure outshone the $6.3 million that then-former Vice President Joe Biden raised in the same timeframe following his 2019 campaign launch.

“We announced that on Twitter Spaces earlier tonight, and it broke the internet because so many people were excited about being on that Twitter Space. Now let’s see if we can break WinRed,” DeSantis stated in a video message on launch day, hinting at the Republican Party’s fundraising platform.

Bryan Griffin, a DeSantis spokesman, revealed that $1 million was raised within an hour of DeSantis’ announcement. He boasted that the governor’s vision for a Great American Comeback had inspired such enthusiasm that it “busted up the internet.” The next target? Washington, according to his tweet.

Nonetheless, Trump’s team was quick to respond to DeSantis’ fundraising success. Alex Pfeiffer, a spokesman for Make America Great Again Inc., accused DeSantis of a three-month shadow campaign and criticized his legislative session for seemingly leveraging Florida taxpayer money to boost his fundraising efforts. Pfeiffer pointed out DeSantis’ shaky campaign launch, questioning his record and labeling his campaign as a nonstarter, according to the New York Post.

While most polls have consistently placed Trump and DeSantis in the first and second spots respectively, some surveys suggest a narrowing gap. A USA Today-Suffolk University poll in December even reported that 56 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning voters preferred DeSantis, compared to 33 percent for Trump, as The Hill reported.

But as of now, the Real Clear Politics average of polls affirms Trump and DeSantis as frontrunners, leaving the liberal Biden trailing behind. Thus, while DeSantis‘ bid might be a game-changer, he must acknowledge and navigate the Trump factor, the indelible mark of a leader who continues to dominate the hearts of the Republican base.

Sources: ConservativeBrief, NewsMax, NYPost, TheHill

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