Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) won reelection Tuesday, in what some are calling a “bloodbath” against Democrat Charlie Crist.
DeSantis won in a landslide against the former Republican Governor Crist, who switched parties in 2012. Results showed DeSantis with an insurmountable lead just an hour after polls closed, and he led Crist by 17 points and 1.1 million votes with 80 percent reporting.
DeSantis won big in heavily Hispanic districts, carrying Miami-Dade County by double digits. Hillary Clinton won the same district by 30 points in 2016. Desantis carried Osceola County, which is majority Hispanic, with 53 percent after getting just 39 percent in 2018.
The shift in Hispanic voters could send shockwaves through the Democratic party, which has tried and failed to appeal to Hispanic Floridians.
It also sets up a particularly interesting choice for the GOP.
DeSantis clearly hopes to be the new standard for the Republican Party, and in the wake of his big victory, a number of people were already trumpeting his case to be the nominee in 2024.
At his election party, DeSantis’ supporters chanted “two more years,” clearly egging on the governor to run.
But the Republican Party is still in the thrall of former President Donald Trump, who may announce as early as next week that he plans to seek the presidency again in 2024.
The former president held a dueling rally apart from DeSantis on Sunday just days before the election. In another rally the day before, Trump dubbed DeSantis “Ron DeSanctimonious,” drawing the ire of some Republican strategists.
“Nothing like trashing a Republican Governor 4 days before Election Day when his name is on the ballot. #team,” said Josh Holmes, a Republican strategist and former campaign manager for Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
In an interview, Trump said DeSantis could “hurt himself” by running in 2024.
“If he did run … I would tell you things about him that won’t be very flattering—I know more about him than anybody—other than, perhaps, his wife,” Trump said.
A number of users online were already split between the two.
“Who needs Trump if we’ve a better candidate, Ron DeSantis, to win presidential elections in 2024?” one user wrote.
“Trump will chew Desantis up and spit him out,” another wrote.
“Sorry, Trump. This is Ron DeSantis’ party now,” said another.
The split among Republicans portends what could be a primary down the road that itself may be a different kind of bloodbath.