Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been a rising star in the Republican party, and many expect him to formally announce his campaign for the presidency soon.
However, recent blunders have put a damper on his campaign’s momentum, and DeSantis and his team are reportedly looking to recalibrate their messaging and strategy in order to regain their footing.
Weeks of grilling by Trump and his allies have left DeSantis’s campaign stalling.
He walked back comments he made about Russia’s war in Ukraine, which he dubbed a “territorial dispute”, after an outcry from fellow Republicans.
Recent polls show him starting to slip in a hypothetical GOP primary.
“I think for all the fanfare about DeSantis, there’s still a lot of stuff he needs to work on,” said one Republican strategist who backs DeSantis for 2024. “That’s normal when you’re exploring this kind of thing. But I think he needs to rethink things a little bit.”
Another area of focus for DeSantis is improving his popularity with moderate and independent voters.
While he remains a popular figure among Republicans, he will need broader support if he hopes to win the presidency in 2024.
“Look, the donor class knows who Ron DeSantis is and what he has done. But a lot of voters don’t,” a Trump-allied strategist said, according to The Hill. “Donald Trump recognizes that he has a chance to define DeSantis before DeSantis has a chance to get out and tell his story.”
Alex Conant, a former strategist on Senator Marco Rubio’s failed 2016 presidential campaign, said there’s no reason for DeSantis to focus on polls at this time.
“Right now, the most important thing is: Are you building relationships? Are you building a team and are you continuing to introduce yourself to voters?” he added. “You don’t have to worry about winning or losing weeks right now.”
Only time will tell if DeSantis can do enough to secure the Republican nomination, but one thing is clear: he cannot afford to rest on his laurels if he wants to beat Trump.