Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis cruised to a commanding 19-point victory over his democratic challenger on Tuesday, a success that other Republicans around the country should take note of, according to Texas GOP Chairman Matt Rinaldi.
“Ron DeSantis created a FL wave because his optimistic, bold & unapologetic conservatism won hearts & minds,” Rinaldi tweeted on Wednesday.
“He led, rather than followed polls. He stood for something. He took risks. He rejected moderation. He inspired people. This is the path forward for the GOP.”
DeSantis’ blowout win was an improvement over 2018, when he won by less than 1%. The Florida governor has become a household name since that election four years ago, picking high-profile fights with Disney, opposing lockdowns during the coronavirus pandemic, and drawing attention to the border crisis by flying dozens of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard.
He flipped Miami-Dade County, which President Biden won by 16 percentage points, becoming the first Republican governor to win there in 20 years.
The resounding win has fueled rumors about DeSantis’ White House aspirations in 2024, which the governor has sidestepped so far.
“I know that Charlie is itching to talk about 2024 and Joe Biden,” DeSantis said last month during a debate with his Democratic opponent, Charlie Crist. “But I just want to make things very, very clear: The only worn-out old donkey I’m looking to put out to pasture is Charlie Crist.”
Former President Trump, who has hinted at a possible 2024 announcement next week, took a swipe at DeSantis earlier this month, referring to him as “Ron DeSanctimonious” during a rally.
“I don’t know if he is running. I think if he runs, he could hurt himself very badly. I really believe he could hurt himself badly,” Trump said about DeSantis in an interview with Fox News Digital on Tuesday. “I think he would be making a mistake, I think the base would not like it — I don’t think it would be good for the party.”
Rinaldi, the chairman of the Texas GOP, contrasted the Republican Party’s success in Florida and Texas with the other 48 states, which he called “largely disappointing.”
“We have an outside shot of a one vote senate majority & will likely have a narrow margin in the House,” Rinaldi tweeted. “But the lesson is, the GOP can’t rest on Dem incompetence & 70% of voters believing America is on the wrong track to win elections. It needs a positive message and governing agenda. It needs to stand for something.