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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis would win New Hampshire’s 2024 Republican primary ‘without a doubt’ if it were held today, the state’s GOP governor said on Sunday.
Gov. Chris Sununu said the Sunshine State Republican is ‘obviously’ running for president, despite not having formally declared his intention to do so – a limbo that’s left former President Donald Trump furious.
But Sununu said the former president would ‘probably’ not see the success that his 2016 campaign did, when he bested a crowded field of more experienced Republicans to clinch the nomination.
‘One of the reasons he became the Republican nominee in 2016 is because he won the first primary state,’ Sununu told CNN’s State of the Union in reference to New Hampshire.
‘Could he do that again? Oh, he could. I don’t think he will.’
DeSantis’ refusal so far to rule out a 2024 primary challenge against Trump has clearly angered the former commander-in-chief, who branded DeSantis ‘disloyal’ on Saturday.
New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, a moderate Republican, suggested Sunday that Donald Trump is missing the energy his 2016 campaign had
Multiple polls show DeSantis as the clear runner-up right now – while some show him topping Trump as the GOP favorite altogether.
Sununu called Trump’s Saturday speech in his state – his first formal campaign event since declaring in November – ‘mundane.’
‘He read his teleprompter, he stuck to the talking points, he went away,’ the moderate GOP governor said.
‘So he’s not really bringing that fire, that energy, I think, that a lot of folks saw it in ’16. I think, in many ways, it was a little disappointing to some folks.’
DeSantis, meanwhile, has seen his GOP star rise throughout the Biden administration with his vocal opposition to Joe Biden’s progressive policies.
He’s also made his own name for himself with Trump’s MAGA base by wading into the culture wars with LGBTQ-targeted legislation and taking on Critical Race Theory in schools.
But as to the state of the 2024 Republican primary so far, Sununu suggested there’s no doubt it’s a two-man race.
He said Trump likely wouldn’t win the New Hampshire GOP primary if it were held today, despite clinching it in 2016
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has angered Trump over his reluctance to rule out his own 2024 presidential bid
‘Obviously, DeSantis and Trump are the two candidates, right, whether he’s declared or not,’ Sununu said of the Florida governor.
‘Ron DeSantis is looking to run for president, which is fine. And he would probably win New Hampshire right now, without a doubt,’ Sununu said.
Though he added, ‘I think other candidates will look to get in this spring or into the summer.’
And Sununu may be one of those candidates himself.
Asked point-blank if he’s ‘considering’ a 2024 bid, Sununu bluntly said: ‘Yes.’
‘I mean, obviously folks are talking about it, but I really don’t have a timeline,’ the moderate said.
‘I’m spending a lot of time naturally trying to grow the party, as Republicans, talk to independents, talk to the next generation of potential Republican voters that right now no one is really reaching out to.’
Trump has made no secret of his disdain for DeSantis’ potential White House ambitions. He’s branded him at separate times ‘Ron DeSanctimonious’ and a ‘phony.’
He fired off another warning shot for the Florida governor to stay out of the race when speaking to reporters from CNN and Politico on his campaign plane on Saturday,
Trump officially kicked off his third presidential campaign with stops in the early primary states of New Hampshire and South Carolina.
‘When I hear that [DeSantis] might [run] I think it’s very disloyal,’ he told the two outlets on his plane.
He also once again took credit for DeSantis’ narrow 2018 victory – which later led to a landslide re-election in 2022.
‘Ron would have not been governor if it wasn’t for me,’ Trump said.