Ron DeSantis heads to Utah
Image via AP.

DeSantis AP SC
The Beehive State is not strong for Trump historically.

Ron DeSantis is taking his presidential campaign to Utah on Friday, prioritizing a state where rival Donald Trump has struggled in the past and that could be a beacon of strength for the Florida governor’s stalled bid.

DeSantis is set to appear at the state Capitol with about a dozen supportive state lawmakers, meet with Republican Gov. Spencer Cox and attend a fundraiser.

His trip out West comes as he has been working to reset a campaign confronting financial pressures and a static position in the field trailing Trump.

For DeSantis, the ability to show strength against Trump in a heavily Republican state like Utah could buoy his effort. In a place where the conservative and religious culture has at times given Trump a chilly reception, there are signs there’s an opening for the Florida governor.

Among those set to appear with him on Friday is state Senate President Stuart Adams, who was one of the few Republicans to endorse Trump early in 2016 but who is now backing DeSantis.

“They’re both great candidates. But I believe Gov. DeSantis deserves a shot. I wouldn’t say anything bad about President Trump,” Adams said in an interview this week.

Utah politicians have historically boasted of their penchant for striking compromises on polarizing issues ranging from immigration to discrimination against LGBTQ residents. But the Legislature, with its Republican supermajority, has lurched rightward in recent years, in line with many red states.

It has passed laws banning gender-affirming care for transgender kids and directing school boards to convene “sensitive materials” committees to weigh whether to remove certain books from school libraries — issues that have become a key feature of DeSantis’ campaign message.

Utah will be among more than a dozen states holding primary contests on Super Tuesday, which falls on March 5 next year. Super Tuesday, a critical proving point for campaigns, is the biggest day on the primary calendar because it offers up the largest number of delegates, which candidates must win state by state.

Unlike 2016, when voters had to wait in long lines and attend meetings to participate in Utah’s caucuses, the state now holds a primary election. That is expected to draw a broader base of voters, though it’s unclear what that means for the GOP field. The winner is expected to be awarded all 40 of Utah’s delegates.

Cox, the recently minted head of the National Governors Association, will meet with DeSantis on Friday afternoon. He has said on numerous occasions that he would like to see a governor in the Oval Office. He and DeSantis co-headlined the state GOP convention in April.

His spokeswoman Jennifer Napier Pearce did not respond to a question about whether Cox is endorsing DeSantis or meeting with other candidates, but instead said in a statement: “As chairman of the National Governors Association, Gov. Cox has been vocal about supporting candidates who are Republican governors — including Gov. DeSantis — because governors are executives who get things done. He looks forward to welcoming Gov. DeSantis to Utah.”

Associated Press


  • Rude Eye

    July 21, 2023 at 8:27 am

    I hope he stays in Utah. He’s not doing any good here in Florida. Maybe he can help with their homeowners insurance problems. Oh I apologize, I was just informed that Utah doesn’t have a homeowners insurance problem.

    • filmigugno

      July 21, 2023 at 8:37 am

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