ov. Ron DeSantis’ political operation has started calling Republican members of the Florida congressional delegation to consolidate support after four members publicly backed Donald Trump in his 2024 presidential bid.
Sources with four of the six members contacted by DeSantis’ team shared the outreach with NBC News; each requested anonymity to confirm the calls.
As Trump continues to lead in the polls for the GOP presidential nomination, DeSantis is trying to stop defections in his own backyard ahead of his expected run. DeSantis has no endorsements from the state delegation.
The efforts started after Trump picked up the backing of Rep. Byron Donalds, who has been a DeSantis ally. The three earlier endorsements were from Reps. Anna Paulina Luna, Matt Gaetz and Cory Mills, who are vocal Trump boosters and whose support wasn’t surprising.
Since Donalds came out for Trump, DeSantis’ team has called at least six members of Florida’s congressional delegation, asking that they hold off on making any endorsements in the near future. They are: Reps. Aaron Bean, Vern Buchanan, Kat Cammack, Mario Diaz-Balart, Laurel Lee and Greg Steube.
Ryan Tyson, a longtime GOP pollster and mainstay in DeSantis’ political orbit, has led the effort. Tyson has initiated the calls, reaching out to schedule later calls between the members of Congress and DeSantis himself.
“There is clearly some angst from the DeSantis camp that so many members of the state’s congressional delegation are throwing their support behind Trump,” said a GOP consultant for one of the members contacted by DeSantis’ team. “Gaetz going with Trump is one thing, but Byron’s endorsement of the former president undoubtedly rattled some cages.”
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