There are still nearly 10 months until the Iowa Republican caucuses will kick off the primary season for the 2024 presidential election, yet former President Donald Trump continues to rack up the endorsements from a special place – Florida.
On Wednesday, Trump received his latest Florida endorsement from Representative Vern Buchanan, who represents the eastern suburbs of Tampa. In doing so, Buchanan is now the seventh Florida congressman who has already publicly stated that they will back Trump in the 2024 presidential election.
This is very pertinent, as Florida’s own governor, Republican Ron DeSantis, is often mentioned as Trump’s leading challenger for the GOP nomination. While DeSantis hasn’t officially filed to run for president yet, many political pundits expect that he will do so in the coming months.
Recently, DeSantis has been traveling around the country giving talks about wide-ranging political issues that stretch beyond Florida’s borders. That has led a lot of people to believe that DeSantis is starting to lay the groundwork for his presidential campaign.
In endorsing Trump this week, Buchanan said:
“If we want to get our economy back on track, Donald Trump is just the guy to get it done. From lowering taxes to protecting our borders to promoting America-first trade deals, President Trump has done it before and will do it again.”
Along with Buchanan, Trump has received endorsements from six other members of Congress from Florida – Representatives Greg Steube, John Rutherford, Anna Paulina Luna, Cory Mills, Matt Gaetz and Byron Donalds.
The endorsement from Buchanan comes just one day after DeSantis met with a group of House Republicans during a trip he made to Washington, D.C. Several political strategists, though, told media outlet Politico that DeSantis’ trip to the nation’s capital didn’t do anything to increase his chances of winning the GOP nomination for president.
Sarah Longwell, who is a consultant for the Republicans, commented to Politico:
“[DeSantis] is in a much weaker position now than he was a few months ago. Trump is in a much stronger position.”
Longwell also added that DeSantis has “had a tough few weeks.”
Mark Graul, another Republican operative from the battleground state of Wisconsin, said that he still thinks that DeSantis will make for a strong GOP contender for the 2024 nomination. That being said, he also acknowledged that the Florida governor has “struggled a little bit with how best to handle” his newfound national popularity.
Florida has 20 Republican members of the House of Representatives. Seven have endorsed Trump thus far, while only one – Representative Laurel Lee – has publicly endorsed DeSantis. The remaining 12 GOP members of the House haven’t said who they will be supporting in 2024.
Some congressmen from outside of Florida have said they support DeSantis, though – Representatives Thomas Massie from Kentucky and Chip Roy from Texas.
In total, Trump has received the public endorsement of 40 GOP members of the House from various parts of the country already.
DeSantis’ public support could tick up if and when he makes his candidacy official.