Ron DeSantis finishes in a distant third place in home state Primary

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Florida's Governor dropped out of the race after the Iowa caucuses. His voters appear to have moved on.

So much for Favorite Son status mattering much.

Gov. Ron DeSantis mustered a third place finish in Florida’s Republican Primary, a result representing the huge gap between the promise of his presidential campaign last Spring and reality now, with that operation consigned to the dustbin of history.

With 99% of the vote in, the Governor has 4% of the vote, with Donald Trump at 81% and Nikki Haley at 14%.

The Associated Press called the race shortly after polls closed in the Central Time Zone.

For the state party, that represents a resounding mandate that seems to retire for good the drama that characterized the Trump-DeSantis showdown last year.

“The Florida GOP was proud to officially endorse President Trump earlier this year and tonight’s results underline what we already know: Florida Republicans are united and ready to send Joe Biden back to his basement in Delaware this November,” said Chairman Evan Power. “I want to congratulate President Trump on his overwhelming victory tonight and I look forward to working with him to Make America Great Again!”

“THANK YOU, FLORIDA—MAGA,” added Trump on Truth Social after the race was called.

Sen. Rick Scott, who endorsed Trump while his successor as Governor was still an active candidate, likewise was enthusiastic.

“In case tonight’s results didn’t make it clear, Florida is MAGA country! Proud to support President Trump and looking forward to all Florida Republicans winning big in November!”

Meanwhile what’s clear at this writing is that a man who got nearly 3/5 of the vote in the 2022 Governor’s race did not translate that support to his home state Primary, where the voters who know him best could have cast protest votes that showed that even with him out of the race, he still had support.

Upon leaving the race, DeSantis said “a majority of Republican Primary voters want to give Donald Trump another chance.” And indeed, that’s the case in Florida, where the state party endorsed Trump weeks before voters got a chance to weigh in.

With the result preordained, DeSantis’ performance is closer to the post-campaign suspension number of Jeb Bush in 2016 (1.8%) than the 27% Marco Rubio got.

The Governor’s Office did not respond to inquiries about where and when he voted in Tuesday’s Primary. During the afternoon, DeSantis was on The Dana Show, where he suggested he might send Haitian refugees to Martha’s Vineyard. He did not mention the Florida Primary during that appearance.

Meanwhile, with nearly 1/5 of voters rejecting Trump, Democrats are raising doubts about whether he will be able to bring home those Haley and DeSantis voters who wanted a different option.

“Tonight’s election made one thing clear: Trump is in trouble in Florida,” said FDP Chair Nikki Fried.

“The results of Florida’s Republican primary show Donald Trump backsliding by 14%, losing support from moderate Republicans who are rejecting his extremism in growing numbers. With moderate Republicans protesting in double digits and non-party affiliated voters breaking for Democrats in recent elections — the bottom line of the night is — Florida is in play. Don’t count us out.”

But that’s a question for November. For tonight, the former President took the state and its 125 delegates.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


12 comments

  • WalMart Greeter Orientation

    March 19, 2024 at 7:29 pm

    He dreams of being No. 2 💩

    • Dont Say FLA

      March 20, 2024 at 8:05 am

      Rhonda reminisces about being Number 2, back before the kids came along, bumping him to #3, #4, and then finally #5.

      Rhonda’s only hope for advancement is if one of the kids were to fall very ill or get in serious car crash or an alligator’s mouth or a python’s mouth and, sadly, croak.

      I wouldn’t put it past Rhonda to hope for that to happen as a means for personal advancement for himself.

      Rhonda’s biggest hope is probably a(nother) SUV crash, but this time with the three kids and a staff driver, all expiring, such that Rhonda can be restored to Number Two.

  • Each Of You IS Bootsie DeSantis By Choice

    March 19, 2024 at 7:37 pm

    This is more a referendum on the citizens and voters of SuperMax Florida (where prisons outnumber colleges by 200%).

    YOU chose Bootsie to represent YOU.

    Your ‘buyers remorse’, while regrettable, is yours to own.

    • MH/Duuuval

      March 19, 2024 at 7:43 pm

      Trump was the remaining contender in the race, and there was no place on the ballot for writing the name of Alexei Navalny. So I voted for the impish Nikki. Now time to switch back my registration to a D.

  • Mark Glaeser

    March 19, 2024 at 7:45 pm

    Where do I return my copy of Swamp Monsters?

  • Nope

    March 20, 2024 at 12:26 am

    Everybody will all fall in line. Always do. Democrats will commit hari-kari , attack their own candidate, or actually sit out and refuse to vote based on some chosen issue or outrage, whereas G0P M@G@ voters will throw themselves on a live grenade to fall in line. People who call themselves independents are the only question mark. There are people who read and think about things, and then those who get their news and views from celebrities and decide based on what happened online that week.

    • BWAHAHAHA

      March 20, 2024 at 1:59 am

      DeSantis came in behind her on his home turf, getting just under 4 percent of the Republican vote. He even fell behind her in Leon County, where the state capital of Tallahassee is located.

  • Impeach Biden

    March 20, 2024 at 7:14 am

    You Demo zombies are reading too much into this. I imagine the turnout was extremely low and DeSantis pulled out of the race a long time ago so why would one cast a vote in a primary to a candidate who has withdrawn? And to the writer that says buyers remorse, Charley Crist, really? DeSantis has done a great job as Governor. What a pleasant change it would be if he were CIC and not that blithering, teleprompter reading, cheat sheet carrying, idiot Slo Joe.

    • Dont Say FLA

      March 20, 2024 at 8:09 am

      Hey IBS, we agree! Ron DeSantis did do a good job as Governor.

      But I can’t omit the part where that was only “for a while. Before Rhonda showed up.”

      The poor lil guy was trying to wage war on every type of person that might wrinkle anyone’s brow, but all he managed to do was shoot his own feet off. If only they’d been on the ground where they should have been, he might have missed. Dang ole high heels ruined everything for him.

    • Michael K

      March 20, 2024 at 9:32 am

      But 13% of voters voted for Nikki Haley – who got three times as many votes as Rhonda. Ouch!

      But Trump is showing real signs of weakness (and mental decline) as the walls close in on him.

  • Dont Say FLA

    March 20, 2024 at 8:02 am

    This story is wrong wrong wrong.

    There’s no gap between the promise and the reality of the Rhonda Campaign. Those were both big fat zero’s.

    The gap is between perception of Rhonda, on paper, and Rhonda hisself.

    Ron DeSantis sounded good on paper, and he wans’t the worst Governor Florida ever saw, but then Rhonda showed up!

  • MH/Duuuval

    March 20, 2024 at 9:24 am

    Trump at 80 percent finished behind his mentor Putin who pulled 87 percent.

Comments are closed.


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