October fundraising ends Sunday, and one Democratic candidate for Governor offers a Halloween horror story through a last-minute appeal for dollars.
“Please brace yourselves: we’re about to show you the scariest thing you’ll see this Halloween,” reads the email from Fried’s campaign for Governor, which claims to be “spooked” by a “frightening scenario.”
That worrisome image? Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former U.S. President Donald Trump in the Oval Office.
“It’s Ron DeSantis (and Donald Trump!!) in the Oval Office. We know that’s what he wants, but it would be disastrous for Florida, the country, and the entire world,” the email urges, driving toward a call to action.
“We’re asking for your help to make sure this scary scenario never happens again. Chip in now to help us finish October strong and make sure Ron DeSantis is a one-term Governor and zero-term President.”
Fried, the current Agriculture Commissioner of the state, is currently one of three major candidates for the Democratic nomination for Governor. Her desire for the top job was no surprise. Going back to the beginning of her term, people asked Florida’s only elected statewide Democrat if she was running early and often.
Meanwhile, Fried has also pushed the narrative that DeSantis was gunning for the White House.
“He’s looking at 2024,” Fried told Duval County Democrats in April.
“If you think that he’s spending one day in his second administration, you are wrong. He is trying to use the people of our state for his own political power and future,” Fried added. “If he’s running for President, he will have to declare, you know, right before or right after the November election. Which means the first two years, he’s campaigning all over the country. And his last two years, he’s going to be President. So who gets duped? The people of the state of Florida.”
Polling shows that the strident anti-DeSantis messaging from Fried and her Primary opponents, Congressman Charlie Crist and state Sen. Annette Taddeo, isn’t yet moving voters. A survey from the Florida Chamber shows Fried down 9 points in a head-to-head battle with DeSantis. Fried is also getting swamped in fundraising, as POLITICO Florida notes; her roughly $3 million cash on hand was half of DeSantis’ most recent month of political committee fundraising.
Yet as Fried fights her way through a Primary. DeSantis continues to deal with what even Trump seems to see as a soft launch to a 2024 bid.
“If I faced him, I’d beat him like I would beat everyone else,” Trump told Yahoo! Finance, noting DeSantis likely would stand down.
DeSantis has been coy when asked about 2024. He has called the chatter “nonsense” when addressing the question in state news conferences and national television appearances.
“There’s a lot of huge issues. It’s way down the road. It’s not anything that I’m planning for,” he said during a Fox News Channel appearance weeks back.
Whether the Governor is planning for 2024 or is just crisscrossing the country to rack up frequent flyer miles, pollsters see encouraging signs should the Governor run. Most national polls rate DeSantis as the leading “second choice” candidate. And in one critical early state, DeSantis outranks the former President in one key metric.
A survey from the University of New Hampshire says Florida’s Governor currently has higher favorable ratings with potential 2024 GOP primary voters than former President Donald Trump.
DeSantis is at +62 net favorability, the highest in the field of potential candidates tested. Trump came in at +54.
However, even this poll said voters still wanted Trump over his protégé. Just 18% of polled Republicans picked the Governor, with 43% preferring Trump from a list of names. When asked “open-ended” with no prompts, Trump was up 56% to 13% for DeSantis.
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