Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) faces critical moments ahead of this week’s Republican primary debate in Alabama, with his position in the Iowa caucuses at stake.
Hosted by NewsNation, the debate comes amid former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s rising challenge to DeSantis in Iowa and New Hampshire polls and her gaining support from donors and Americans For Prosperity (AFP).
DeSantis vs. Newsom’s high-profile Fox News debate sparks sharp exchanges
DeSantis recently engaged in a high-profile debate with California Governor Gavin Newsom on Fox News.
The discussion saw both politicians exchange sharp remarks, with DeSantis accusing Newsom of running a “shadow campaign” for the presidency and labeling him a “liberal bully.”
Newsom mocks DeSantis’s poll numbers, doubts his race continuation
Newsom retorted by mocking DeSantis’s poll standings and questioning his continuation in the race.
Ford O’Connell, a Florida-based GOP strategist, emphasized the need for DeSantis to carry forward the momentum from the Newsom debate.
“Go after Nikki Haley in some of the ways that Gavin Newsom tried to come after you,” he suggested.
DeSantis faces new challenge in upcoming debate
The Newsom debate provided a favorable setting for DeSantis, contrasting his record in Florida with Newsom’s in California.
However, the upcoming discussion presents a different challenge, with DeSantis sharing the stage with Haley and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and possibly former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
Republicans throw their weight behind DeSantis in upcoming debate
Justin Sayfie, another Republican strategist from Florida, sees an opportunity for DeSantis to establish himself as the leading alternative to Trump, especially with Haley’s recent surge.
Polling data indicates a close race between Haley and DeSantis, with Trump leading nationally.
Dan Eberhart, a DeSantis donor, advises DeSantis to focus his efforts on Trump rather than engaging with Haley and Ramaswamy.
“DeSantis shouldn’t punch down. He needs to target the front-runner,” Eberhart said, emphasizing the importance of addressing the electorate directly.
DeSantis advised to challenge Haley’s establishment support
Conversely, some Republicans believe DeSantis should confront Haley, especially given her recent endorsements from nonpopulist figures like JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon.
O’Connell advises DeSantis to portray Haley as aligned with Wall Street rather than American workers.
Haley’s endorsements, including Dimon’s public support, have drawn criticism from Trump, who lambasted Dimon on Truth Social.
Trump’s comments reflect the ongoing tension within the GOP between populist and establishment factions.
Internal GOP struggle: Haley’s appeal vs. DeSantis’s populist base
This dynamic is evident in the broad appeal Haley is said to have across the Republican spectrum, contrasting with the populist base that Trump and DeSantis have traditionally appealed to.
Sayfie, reflecting on his experience as a Jeb Bush supporter in 2016, asserts that the path to the GOP nomination lies firmly within the party’s populist wing.
DeSantis’s make-or-break moment in Alabama debate
The Alabama debate represents a pivotal moment for DeSantis as he vies for a stronger position in the lead-up to the Iowa caucuses.
With the Republican field still coalescing and voters weighing their options, DeSantis’s performance in the debate could significantly impact his campaign trajectory and the broader GOP primary race.