DeSantis edges Trump in early straw poll in Colorado

Reporter: Morgan Rynor Writer: Jackie Winchester
FILE – In this July 31, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump, right, shakes hands with Florida then-Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis during a rally in Tampa. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara, File)

The next presidential election might be more than two years away, but people are already weighing in on who they want to run for the Republican nomination.

An early 2024 straw poll shows Gov. Ron DeSantis is on top, even over former President Donald Trump.

What about the two running as a pair?

“I would love to see a Donald Trump, Ron Desantis ticket,” said Doris Cortese, vice-chair of the Lee County Republican Party.

But if she had to pick, she is quick to answer.

“I think my ideal would be a Ron Desantis, Kristi Noem ticket.”

She isn’t the only one leaning that way. DeSantis beat Trump in a straw poll taken at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver over the weekend. The advantage was narrow at 74% to 71%, but still significant.

“Some of the never-Trumpers who don’t like Trump because of the language and because of the things he said, can come back to Desantis because he is smoother. He says the same things. But he says some in, I don’t know if the word is gentle, but he says them in a more acceptable type of speaking,” Cortese said.

Peter Bergerson, Ph.D., a political science professor at Florida Gulf Coast University, warned the straw poll is just a snapshot of time. Trump won a similar poll in Florida.

“I think that the polls that you’re seeing probably reflect the exposure that Governor DeSantis has shown. I think it’s really much more of a popularity reflection than actual policy reflection,” he said.

But it speaks volumes of the transition the party is experiencing.

“There’s going to be an up and down, it’s going to be a roller coaster ride.”

Cortese fully believes DeSantis is the man for the job to unite the country.

“I just got back from Michigan and everyone, I said, ‘Oh, yes, I live in Florida,’ like ‘Oh, Ron Desantis state.”

Cortese said her first goal is to get the governor reelected in 2022 before she prioritizes 2024. Neither DeSantis nor Trump have officially announced a presidential run.

While DeSantis only beat Trump by 3% in the poll, there was a huge gap to the third vote-getter: Ted Cruz.

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