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The GOP’s 2024 freeze

Thought Leader: Josh Kraushaar
January 15, 2023
Source: Axios

Questions about Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ political resilience — and fears of going toe-to-toe with former President Trump — have all but frozen the 2024 Republican field, delaying most of the leading prospects’ timelines for entering the race.

Why it matters: Despite dominating polling among Republicans looking for a Trump alternative, DeSantis hasn’t been tested in the klieg lights of a presidential election. His Republican detractors see him as a paper tiger who lacks the charisma necessary for a national campaign.

State of play: DeSantis himself is unlikely to make a final decision about running for president until at least May, after Florida’s legislative session ends.

Between the lines: DeSantis is already taking some hits on his right flank from South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem over abortion. Florida currently has a 15-week abortion ban in place, but pro-life activists have been advocating for stricter limits.

Reality check: Even with a lackluster start to his campaign, Trump is still the Republican front-runner in primary polls.

The bottom line: We’re likely to see a historically slow start to a presidential campaign, with many “known unknowns” about the size and nature of the field.

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