Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has emerged as one of the front-runners for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, but GOP strategists note that he would face several challenges if he were to run.
Martin Sweet, who teaches political science at Purdue University, told The Hill that DeSantis’ personality could turn off voters, especially in early primary states where voters “really want those up-close, multiple-times visits. Lots of people want to look under the hood and kick the tires. Can he do that low-level persuasion?”
He added, “DeSantis emotes a lot less than other prospective candidates and might have some trouble.”
One Republican supporter, who was not named, told the Hill that DeSantis is ” ‘angry guy at the podium’ all the time. It’s always ‘own the libs.’ “
Sweet also noted that DeSantis may not want to face off against former President Donald Trump, who has already announced his intent to run in 2024.
DeSantis “has everything to lose and nothing to gain,” Sweet said. “Why piss off the Trump base right now?”
Another difficulty is his lack of experience running for national office. Longtime GOP strategist Keith Naughton noted, “DeSantis has never run nationally before. He’s going to do some dumb things at some point.”
He added, “From the polling we’ve seen in Florida, where people know him and recognize him, it tells me that when DeSantis actually starts introducing himself to voters elsewhere, he’s got a lot of room to grow.”
DeSantis could also face a backlash over his policy positions, which one Florida GOP veteran said “aren’t all that different from Donald Trump’s. So I think if we’re going to have a conversation about Trump’s electability, his appeal to the electorate as a whole, there’s gotta be a similar conversation about DeSantis.”
The strategist added, “Personality-wise, I think [DeSantis] comes off as more in control, more restrained. But again, there’s not a lot of daylight between him and Trump when it comes to the issues.”
Reporting from Newsmax.