DeSantis gains endorsements ahead of likely presidential bid
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is gaining endorsements from his own and other state legislatures ahead of a likely 2024 campaign launch.
The big picture: The Florida governor is expected to launch a campaign in coming weeks that would pit him against former President Trump, his onetime ally who is dominating him in the polls.
Driving the news: DeSantis, who hasn't yet announced a bid, gained the support of 51 New Hampshire state representatives on Tuesday, per the DeSantis-supporting super PAC Never Back Down.
- Also signing on to support him: Florida's top two Republican legislative leaders, House Speaker Paul Renner and Senate President Kathleen Passidomo.
- "There is no greater vision for the future of our country than the 'Florida Blueprint' Governor DeSantis spearheaded over the last several years," Passidomo said, adding that the state has become a "beacon of liberty."
- "Gov. DeSantis has a proven record of delivering on the pro-family, pro-economic ideals that not only will keep Florida free but will be of critical importance in a 2024 presidential election," Renner said.
Meanwhile, DeSantis could bet big on Iowa, where more than a third of the Republicans in the state's legislature announced they'd support his run — more than any GOP candidate received in 2016.
- The Florida governor headlined two Iowa events over the weekend that were filled with state officials and Republican caucus-goers while Trump canceled his rally in Des Moines due to "severe weather."
Don't forget: Trump has been pushing back against DeSantis in his own backyard, gaining endorsements from several of Florida's House Republicans, including Reps. John Rutherford and Brian Mast.
- The former president has also been criticizing DeSantis over his ongoing feud with Disney.
Context: The field for the GOP presidential nomination is growing. So far, Trump, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson have launched either official campaigns or exploratory committees.
- Close allies of former Vice President Mike Pence are also launching a super PAC to serve as springboard for his likely GOP presidential campaign.
For the record: DeSantis earned his first congressional endorsement from a member of the Florida delegation last month — Rep. Laurel Lee — before meeting with dozens of members of Congress on Capitol Hill, Axios' Erin Doherty reports.
- He's has also been endorsed by Freedom Caucus member Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) and Thomas Massie (R-Ky.).
Go deeper: The Republicans who endorsed a Trump challenger in 2024