Last November, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis won reelection by a massive margin for a once-solid swing state — nearly 20 points after only winning his 2018 race by a fraction of that amount.
At the time, there was talk that he might even be the one Republican who could beat out another famous resident of his state — former President Donald Trump — for the 2024 nomination.
But that belief, at least for the current election cycle, appears to be waning fast among the GOP electorate as well as the Republican donor class, according to a report published on Wednesday.
Ron DeSantis Looked Like a Rising Star in the GOP and Maybe the One To Beat Trump. He Is Now Losing Support…Last year, after midterm elections in which many candidates backed by Donald Trump lost while Gov. Ron DeSantis enjoyed a comfortable re-election victory, the Murdoch media empire — which includes Fox News, the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal, and other outlets — began to favor DeSantis and oppose Trump.
A new report says that the Murdochs are now starting to sour on DeSantis.
“The conservative media kingmakers’ preferred candidate to knock off Donald Trump is not meeting expectations, and the family’s patriarch is getting tired of waiting,” Rolling Stone reported, citing several alleged sources within the Murdoch world of companies.
As per the magazine’s report, Rupert Murdoch has been engaged in discussions where he has expressed reservations about DeSantis, particularly after the Florida governor officially entered the presidential race. Murdoch has specifically highlighted DeSantis’ “awkward” demeanor in public and his thus far unsuccessful “attempts to connect with the American voter.”
“[Rupert’s] understandable worry is that we may end up being stuck with Trump anyway,” a Fox News source reportedly told Rolling Stone. “And DeSantis is underperforming. Anybody can see that…[and the Murdochs], they’re seeing it, too.”
The magazine went on to say the shift in attitudes toward DeSantis has begun to be reflected in the coverage of the GOP primary campaigns in Murdoch’s media companies.
“Ron DeSantis was built up as the Trump-slayer. So if he’s not immediately leading Trump in the polls, it’s easy to see how that can easily be spun as a let-down,” Doug Heye, a former communications director at the Republican National Committee, told Rolling Stone.
“There are a lot of people who are trying to write the obituary of a well-funded and popular figure in the party before the debates have even started. Ron was the designated dragon-slayer — and because he hasn’t slayed the dragon before the debates have begun, he’s being portrayed as a failure. And I think it’s too early for that,” Heye added.
1945 suggested that DeSantis has been champing at the bit for the GOP debates to begin, where he clearly believes he’ll be able to shine. And he also said this week that he will be at them regardless of whether Trump shows up after sources close to the former president have indicated he will avoid them, at least for now.
“I’ll be there, regardless,” the governor said, per NBC News. “I hope everybody who is eligible comes. I think it is an important part of the process, and I look forward to being able to be on the stage and introducing our candidacy and our vision, and our leadership to a wide audience.”
Last week, Outkick podcast host Tomi Lahren held DeSantis’ feet to the fire in an interview posted on Friday, during which she pressed him about why he decided to run for president this cycle instead of waiting until 2028 after Trump announced his third bid.
In the interview, Lahren asked the GOP governor to respond to supporters of Trump who also like him but believe he should wait his “turn” in 2028.
“First of all, in America, we don’t have ‘turns,’” DeSantis responded. “People can run if they believe they have something to offer the country.”