Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is set to formally enter the 2024 Republican primary field Wednesday, announcing his bid for the White House on Twitter.
DeSantis is largely seen as the biggest contender for the GOP nomination next to former President Donald Trump, but critics say the governor has his work cut out for him to win the nomination.
“Right from the start, he is going to be the target,” said Fox News senior political analyst Juan Williams Tuesday on “The Story.” “He’s already the target from President Trump as his number one rival. It’s a big difference in the poll numbers, but he is the number one alternative.”
Fox News contributor Guy Benson argued DeSantis has to be “strategic” in running his campaign because he wants to appeal to a large swath of both Republican voters and Trump supporters.
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“Some of those supporters are, let’s say, soft supporters. He doesn’t want to actively alienate them, but he does want to raise certain differences, points of difference, where he would make the case that ‘I’m the better bet for the Republican Party and the future of the movement in general and the opportunity to serve,’” he said on “The Story.”
An average of polls from RealClearPolitics from April 21- May 18 found former President Trump holding a commanding lead over the rest of the 2024 field by nearly 37 points. Trump is first for GOP voters’ 2024 preference at 56.3%, DeSantis second at 19.4% and former Vice President Mike Pence third at 5.6%.
Republican strategist Karl Rove said the Trump campaign shouldn’t go out beating the drum about how far the former president is ahead in the polls because they are going to “tighten” once voters find out more about other candidates.
“We’re likely to see the polls sort of close a little bit over the next couple of months. There could be big changes, comparatively big changes, by the time following the debates,” he explained. “But remember, at this point in 2008, Rudy Giuliani was way ahead and so was Hillary Clinton at this point in 2008. In 2012, 30 days before the Iowa caucuses, Newt Gingrich was ahead. You know, we’ve seen the front-runner and admittedly, President Trump is not the normal front-runner, but we’ve seen the front-runners fade when people get to know more about the other candidates in the race and find somebody else more attractive.”
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Rove added that for the last 32 years, the U.S. has been governed by men from the baby boomer generation. He highlighted President Biden’s age and the fact that he is from the silent generation – people born between 1928-1945.
“There is a great deal of dissatisfaction with the notion that the best America can do is to nominate a 78-year-old and an 82-year-old for the toughest job in the world,” he said. “That takes a lot out of anybody who has it. Take a look at the photos of these men when they came into office and then take a look at the photo of when they left the office and whether it’s George W. Bush or Bill Clinton or Barack Obama. They have changed.”
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DeSantis is set to officially announce he’s a candidate for president on Wednesday at 6 p.m. ET during a conversation with Elon Musk on Twitter.