DeSantis’ debate stage presence didn’t offer any surprises

Reporter: Claire Galt Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

Fireworks during the first debate of the 2024 Presidential Election, and Gov. Ron DeSantis wasn’t at the center or the target of them.

The seven men and one woman hit the national stage in Milwaukee for two hours, Wednesday night. The frontrunner, former President Donald Trump, wasn’t on the debate stage with his opponents.

DeSantis, a distant second in the polls to the former President, stood center stage while Vivek Ramaswamy took fire from the GOP candidates. Ramaswamy, a rookie politician, has surged into third place in the polls behind DeSantis.

Ramaswamy got hit by the former Vice President first in a back-and-forth that didn’t include DeSantis.

One of the surprises in the first hour was that DeSantis didn’t say much. However, DeSantis answered decisively when asked a direct question, especially on how Florida is fighting crime.

DeSantis had a few fierce moments during the debate, but he wasn’t on the attack and was relatively uninvolved in the many heated exchanges.

desantis debate

Also, DeSantis didn’t offer any surprises. Rather, he stuck to his script and repeated what he believed.

Interestingly, the expected attack from people below him in the polls didn’t come to fruition. Instead, it was Ramaswamy commanding most of the attention. In the spin room after the debate, James Uthermeir, DeSantis’ campaign manager, told WINK News that surprised him.

“I think he did a wonderful job,” said Uthermeir about DeSantis. “I think he won the night, and he shined above all the other candidates, so really, it looked like they were kind of scrapping for third and fourth place. He made the most of his time. Personally, I would have liked it for less from some other people. There was more bickering side by side and looking backward and past elections rather than the one that’s in front of us. I think the American people really wanted to hear about a vision looking forward. How are we going to fix this country? And the governor told him exactly how he’s going to end America’s decline.”

U.S. Representative Byron Donalds, R.-FL, told WINK News, that despite being absent, Trump was the winner of the debate.

“One of the things that was missed, nobody really talked about what Joe Biden has done to our country. They’re talking about the solutions, and that’s good,” he said, “but we’re not just in a race for the Republican nomination. We’re in a race for the White House, and you have to make the case repeatedly, every single time about what Joe Biden has done with details and some flair by — mind you — and demonstrate why you are the person not just to defeat him but to unwind all this, and I didn’t see any of that tonight.”

The DeSantis camp told WINK News they are not worried about the election polls, the governor is in the race for the long haul. That means repeating his message that the goal must be to win back the White House, and Trump won’t do that.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.