Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is not running for president—at least not officially, not formally, not yet—so it is not necessarily surprising that the Sunshine State’s Republican chief executive has not responded to preemptive attacks from potential rivals for the 2024 GOP nod.
Way-too-early polls show DeSantis and former President Donald Trump are, far and away, the top two potential hopefuls among survey respondents to emerge victorious from Republican primaries beginning next February, and in the following fall to challenge the Democratic candidate, now likely but not certainly, incumbent President Joe Biden.
Trump officially announced on Nov 15 that he was running in the 2024 presidential election and has zeroed in on DeSantis with a withering string of criticisms.
DeSantis has not responded directly to Trump’s attacks, including his claim that as a relatively little-known United States Representative in 2018, he came to the president with “tears in his eyes” to “beg” for the endorsement that put him into the Governor’s Mansion in Tallahassee.
Not known for not responding to challenges, DeSantis and his varied campaign committees and supporters have been relatively quiet in pushing back against Trump’s targeted barbs at the governor.
Instead, DeSantis in near-daily briefings, touts his initiatives and successes as the governor of the nation’s third-most populous state, contrasting his leadership against that of Biden in the White House and Democrats elsewhere.
Et Tu, Sununu?
On Feb. 9, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, a potential 2024 GOP presidential candidate, pretty much announced he was running by doing what Trump is doing—bashing a rival front-runner, DeSantis.
Speaking at ‘POLITICO at The Fifty: America’s Governors,’ Sununu said he was the “most fiscally conservative governor in the country,” that his state honors the Second Amendment “far and away the best,” and would challenge any state to compare its record against his when it comes to regulatory reform.
And then he essentially announced he’s running for his party’s 2024 presidential nod by taking a potshot at a front-runner who hasn’t announced—yet—that he’s running.
“I’m ranked No. 1 in personal freedoms,” Sununu told POLITICO’s Lisa Kashinsky. “Sorry, Ron, you’re No. 2.”
DeSantis hasn’t responded. The Ready For Ron committee, among groups coalescing to back his expected presidential run had not, by early afternoon on Feb. 10, returned phone calls from The Epoch Times seeking a response.
If DeSantis wanted to return fire, however, he could note that Sununu probably has a lot of time on his hands to critique fellow governors’ performances.
New Hampshire is the fifth-smallest by area, and 10th-least populous, of the nation’s 50 states. Florida is seven times larger in land mass and, with 21.8 million residents, 15 times more populous than the 1.4 million people who live in New Hampshire. There are five counties in Florida with more people—and more complexities—than in the entire state of New Hampshire.
DeSantis is campaigning by not campaigning— for now—because, apparently, unlike his preemptive rivals, he’s got a day job and he’s sticking to it.