Nov 8, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Huge DeSantis win shows presidential punch

Ron DeSantis

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' resounding victory over Democrat Charlie Crist — fueled by the strongest GOP showing in Miami-Dade County in two decades — has cemented his position as a 2024 presidential contender.

Why it matters: The big, broad win is a massive show of force against former President Trump, whose blessing propelled DeSantis to office. DeSantis is the first GOP governor to win Miami-Dade County, a Democratic stronghold, since Jeb Bush's re-election in 2002. He did so by double digits.

  • "Never seen a race that big in my history of working in Florida politics. That's an absolute bloodbath," a Florida-based Democratic consultant told Axios' Alexi McCammond.

Flashback: In 2018, DeSantis lost Miami-Dade County by 20 points and Palm Beach County, another Democratic stronghold, by 17. With 95% of the vote in on Tuesday night, DeSantis was leading in Miami-Dade by 11 points and Palm Beach by three.

What they're saying: "We have rewritten the political map. Thank you for honoring us with a win for the ages," DeSantis said in his victory speech Tuesday night, specifically crediting the voters of Miami-Dade and Palm Beach.

The big picture: DeSantis' 2024 stock has steadily risen over the past year, even as Trump has grown more serious about his presidential plans — now believed to be imminent — to declare a formal comeback bid.

  • DeSantis' campaign and aligned political committee raised an astonishing $200 million for his re-election, with $90 million left burning a hole in the bank as the term-limited governor contemplates his next move.
  • GOP megadonor Ken Griffin told Politico this week he would back DeSantis in 2024, saying "it's time to move on to the next generation."

What to watch: DeSantis and Trump's muted rivalry is on a collision course: Twice in the past week, Trump has taken shots at the Florida governor, including calling him Ron "DeSanctimonious" at a rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday.

  • DeSantis, in turn, has remained silent and delivered an electoral landslide that outmatched Trump's performance in 2016 and 2020 — a devastating response.
  • "I think if he runs, he could hurt himself very badly. I really believe he could hurt himself badly," Trump told Fox News on Tuesday.
  • "I would tell you things about him that won’t be very flattering — I know more about him than anybody — other than, perhaps, his wife."
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