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Tipsheet

Ron DeSantis' 2024 Shadow Campaign

AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis must end this madness and declare his 2024 candidacy. We know it will happen at some point; we don’t need these coy maneuvers ahead of that announcement. Axios had an article about his “shadow campaign,” which includes a book tour like Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC). Scott is also considering a 2024 run, though it’s a two-man race between Trump and DeSantis. The Florida governor is also on a speaking tour, delivering speeches to police organizations in major cities, like Chicago, New York City, and the Philly suburbs. The publication added that he’s working on two fronts—testing the national waters for a presidential bid while making sure the home front affairs in Tallahassee are in order as well (via Axios): 

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is aggressively testing the limits of running an unofficial presidential campaign, ramping up national engagements that leave little doubt about his plans for 2024.

Why it matters: DeSantis and former President Trump are the GOP frontrunners, but their approaches to campaigning have so far been starkly different. 

Trump launched his comeback bid just days after the 2022 midterms; DeSantis sees no urgency and isn't expected to formally declare until June. 

[…] 

On Friday, he hosted more than 100 of his top supporters and donors for a three-day retreat just down the road from Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort. 

Tomorrow, DeSantis begins a national book tour in which he'll headline fundraisers and give speeches in Texas, California, Alabama and elsewhere.

The intrigue: DeSantis will not be attending this week's Conservative Political Action Conference, where 2024 rivals Trump and Nikki Haley are scheduled to appear.

He has also yet to set foot in early-primary states Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

One thing to remember with ascending Republicans when matched against Trump: one wrong move can screw the whole show. In 2016, the supposed rising stars in the party, including more than a couple of governors, were wiped out within weeks. CNN’s Margaret Hoover did have a good point: to be careful of these guys peaking too soon. Many in the 2016 field will probably never be able to run for president again, forever canceling those ambitions. There’s a lot of support gathering behind Ron, and a lot is riding on him holding his own against the former president. Can he do it? I’d be happy with both men at the top of the ticket, but more than enough voters have seen enough with Trump, to the point there’s an electoral wall that will make winning nationally with him more than difficult. It might be near-impossible. We shattered the blue wall in 2016. That’s not happening again with him. And Ron, well, he could get tongue-tied and wilt in one debate, which will probably make Joe Biden very happy.  

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