Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is already attracting vital hype in the 2024 presidential race, although he hasn’t but jumped in. However there are additionally skeptics who see similarities with one other younger conservative governor who eight years in the past ran with lofty expectations solely to drop out months earlier than the primary major.
That doomed candidate, then-Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, is not shopping for the comparisons.
In an interview Friday with NBC Information, Walker stated the dynamics for DeSantis heading into 2024 are “in all probability higher” than they had been for him in the 2016 race.
“DeSantis is in a good place,” Walker stated, including that he has a sturdy case to make in opposition to former President Donald Trump. “Principally, DeSantis’ argument must be that if you would like the identical type of toughness, if you would like the identical type of pushback with out the sharp edges, he’s your man.”
Early polls present DeSantis in a stronger place than Walker was at this level eight years in the past. And Trump — who romped by way of a traditionally massive GOP subject that 12 months, shattering the presidential desires of Walker and different extra standard Republicans on his method to the White Home — is operating once more underneath a lot totally different circumstances, particularly after dropping in 2020.
“I wouldn’t write him off, however he’s not the brand new, fully totally different outsider that he was in 2016 that each one of us weren’t ready to overcome,” Walker, the president of the Younger America’s Basis, a nationwide youth-oriented conservative group, stated of Trump.
Walker’s feedback got here on the finish of a busy week of presidential maneuvering by GOP prospects. Nikki Haley, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and South Carolina governor, officially launched her marketing campaign, turning into the second declared candidate after Trump. Like Haley, former Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina — each of whom are weighing White Home bids — visited early voting states.
And DeSantis continued to stoke hypothesis about his intentions as particulars surfaced about his plans to headline Republican capabilities exterior of his personal state and to address a Chicago-area police union.
DeSantis took workplace in Florida the 12 months Walker misplaced his bid for a third straight time period in Wisconsin. Walker is nearer with former governors who served concurrently he did, like Haley and Pence, than he is with DeSantis.
“I talked to Nikki the opposite day earlier than she bought in,” Walker stated. “She’s going to have a credible case, had a sturdy document as governor. I’ve but to discover a one that, a minimum of proper of heart, objected to her time as ambassador.”
Walker stated he doesn’t plan on endorsing in the GOP race however will use his function on the basis to assist join presidential candidates with youthful voters. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, one other Republican believed to be getting ready to run, addressed the group this week, on the day Haley formally launched her marketing campaign.
“It’s going to be a wide-open race,” stated Walker, who believes different sitting governors and senators will run. “Eight years in the past, there have been already a entire bunch of individuals in or about to be at this level. Clearly, President Trump getting in, notably as early as he did, type of furrows issues out for a whereas.”
Walker’s White Home marketing campaign started with appreciable hype, too. In Wisconsin, he had received two phrases as governor and beat a recall election, successfully profitable three statewide elections in 4 years in an electoral battleground.
Like DeSantis is now together with his tirades in opposition to “woke” tradition and mainstream media, the Walker of 2015 was a star with the GOP base after tangling with public-employee unions. A well-received speech at an Iowa candidates discussion board rocketed him to top-tier standing. However like each different Republican who ran, Walker couldn’t outrun Trump. He dropped out in September 2015.
“Folks say I bought out early. No, I simply bought out sensible,” Walker stated Friday. “I may see, after that second debate, absolutely the and complete fascination by the media on Donald Trump the candidate and didn’t see any method round that.”
“I joke that I bought out earlier than I bought a nickname” from Trump, Walker added. “However significantly, we simply may see the place this was headed and determined it simply didn’t make any sense.”
DeSantis already has a minimum of one nickname from Trump: “Ron DeSanctimonious.” However Walker additionally stated DeSantis has different optimistic attributes that he lacked in 2015. Walker, for instance, spent 2014 preventing a powerful re-election battle that prevented him from doing a lot 2016 spadework in the meantime. DeSantis, conversely, spent 2022 cruising towards a second time period — he beat Democrat Charlie Crist by practically 20 factors — and honing his message for a nationwide viewers.
“It was clearer and clearer that it wasn’t a matter of profitable or not — it was a matter of by how a lot,” Walker stated. “I feel the DeSantis camp was in a a lot better place, each in phrases of expertise on the group and in phrases of issues he did and stated. Clearly even the issues he did in his re-elect had been issues that had been focused far past Florida voters.”
As for Trump, Walker acknowledged how Haley and others have argued for a new era of Republican leaders however stated that the previous president “due to what he completed … has earned the suitable to be in this race and understandably the front-runner.”
“The query turns into, not for me or every other insider, however actually for the voters: Is he the suitable particular person to take the subsequent step ahead?” Walker added. “The opposite factor I might stress is, even when voters look to somebody new, doubtlessly somebody of a youthful era, I feel we as conservatives have gotten to be very cautious that we don’t lose contact with the voters who had been energized by President Trump in ‘16 and ‘20.”
This text was initially revealed on NBCNews.com