A handful of Republicans have announced long-shot bids to win the 2024 presidential primary, but former President Donald Trump remains the clear front-runner at this early point in the campaign.
That's his best in 17 months, and a 10-point swing from just weeks ago.
Highest absolute % of the vote since September 2021
— Rasmussen Reports (@Rasmussen_Poll) April 5, 2023
The only GOP politician being widely discussed as a legitimate threat to Trump is Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, but he has yet to formally announce his candidacy.
Recent reports indicate he is ramping up his appearances in other states, though, which is typically seen as a sign that a national campaign is in the works. Of course, DeSantis is characterizing the stops as part of a book tour, but he is expected to tout his accomplishments in Florida when he heads to the early primary state of South Carolina next week.
He has previously shared his so-called “freedom blueprint” in other states, including left-leaning New York and Pennsylvania, but his appearance in the largely conservative state could bolster his status among voters ahead of next year’s first-in-the-South primary vote.
The April 19 event will be DeSantis’ first public address in South Carolina and GOP state Sen. Josh Kimbrell was reportedly instrumental in organizing the appearance.
“I’ve told everybody associated with his team, ’You’ve got to get here early and often,’” Kimbrell said.
The state lawmaker, who has worked with other organizations to convince DeSantis to throw his hat in the ring, said he told the governor that “if you want to win, you’ve got to get here early.”
DeSantis has reportedly confided in those around him that he intends to run for president, but a state law currently stands in his way by requiring a sitting governor to resign before launching a federal campaign. Florida lawmakers are currently considering alterations to that law in order to allow him to maintain his current post while running for president.