Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is already attracting important hype in the 2024 presidential race, though he hasn’t but jumped in. However there are additionally skeptics who see similarities with one other younger conservative governor who eight years in the past ran with lofty expectations solely to drop out months earlier than the primary major.
That doomed candidate, then-Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, is not shopping for the comparisons.
In an interview Friday with NBC Information, Walker mentioned the dynamics for DeSantis heading into 2024 are “in all probability higher” than they have been for him in the 2016 race.
“DeSantis is in a good place,” Walker mentioned, including that he has a sturdy case to make in opposition to former President Donald Trump. “Mainly, DeSantis’ argument ought to be that if you need the identical form of toughness, if you need the identical form of pushback with out the sharp edges, he’s your man.”
Early polls present DeSantis in a stronger place than Walker was at this level eight years in the past. And Trump — who romped by means of a traditionally massive GOP subject that yr, shattering the presidential desires of Walker and different extra standard Republicans on his approach to the White Home — is operating once more beneath a lot completely different circumstances, particularly after shedding in 2020.
“I wouldn’t write him off, however he’s not the brand new, utterly completely different outsider that he was in 2016 that each one of us weren’t ready to overcome,” Walker, the president of the Younger America’s Basis, a nationwide youth-oriented conservative group, mentioned of Trump.
I believe we as conservatives have gotten to be very cautious that we don’t lose contact with the voters who have been energized by President Trump in ‘16 and ‘20.
Former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker
Walker’s feedback got here on the finish of a busy week of presidential maneuvering by GOP prospects. Nikki Haley, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and South Carolina governor, formally launched her marketing campaign, changing into the second declared candidate after Trump. Like Haley, former Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina — each of whom are weighing White Home bids — visited early voting states.
And DeSantis continued to stoke hypothesis about his intentions as particulars surfaced about his plans to headline Republican features exterior of his personal state and to handle a Chicago-area police union.
DeSantis took workplace in Florida the yr Walker misplaced his bid for a third straight time period in Wisconsin. Walker is nearer with former governors who served similtaneously he did, like Haley and Pence, than he’s with DeSantis.
“I talked to Nikki the opposite day earlier than she acquired in,” Walker mentioned. “She’s going to have a credible case, had a sturdy document as governor. I’ve but to discover a one who, at the least proper of heart, objected to her time as ambassador.”
Walker mentioned he doesn’t plan on endorsing in the GOP race however will use his function on the basis to assist join presidential candidates with youthful voters. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, one other Republican believed to be getting ready to run, addressed the group this week, on the day Haley formally launched her marketing campaign.
“It’s going to be a wide-open race,” mentioned Walker, who believes different sitting governors and senators will run. “Eight years in the past, there have been already a complete bunch of individuals in or about to be at this level. Clearly, President Trump getting in, notably as early as he did, form of furrows issues out for a whereas.”
Walker’s White Home marketing campaign started with appreciable hype, too. In Wisconsin, he had gained two phrases as governor and beat a recall election, successfully successful three statewide elections in 4 years in an electoral battleground.
Like DeSantis is now along with his tirades in opposition to “woke” tradition and mainstream media, the Walker of 2015 was a star with the GOP base after tangling with public-employee unions. A well-received speech at an Iowa candidates discussion board rocketed him to top-tier standing. However like each different Republican who ran, Walker couldn’t outrun Trump. He dropped out in September 2015.
“Folks say I acquired out early. No, I simply acquired out sensible,” Walker mentioned Friday. “I might see, after that second debate, absolutely the and complete fascination by the media on Donald Trump the candidate and didn’t see any approach round that.”
“I joke that I acquired out earlier than I acquired a nickname” from Trump, Walker added. “However significantly, we simply might see the place this was headed and determined it simply didn’t make any sense.”
DeSantis already has at the least one nickname from Trump: “Ron DeSanctimonious.” However Walker additionally mentioned DeSantis has different optimistic attributes that he lacked in 2015. Walker, for instance, spent 2014 combating a robust re-election battle that prevented him from doing a lot 2016 spadework in the meantime. DeSantis, conversely, spent 2022 cruising towards a second time period — he beat Democrat Charlie Crist by almost 20 factors — and honing his message for a nationwide viewers.
“It was clearer and clearer that it wasn’t a matter of successful or not — it was a matter of by how a lot,” Walker mentioned. “I believe the DeSantis camp was in a significantly better place, each in phrases of expertise on the workforce and in phrases of issues he did and mentioned. Clearly even the issues he did in his re-elect have been issues that have been focused far past Florida voters.”
As for Trump, Walker acknowledged how Haley and others have argued for a new era of Republican leaders however mentioned that the previous president “due to what he achieved … has earned the best to be in this race and understandably the front-runner.”