Donald Trump is leading the polls in the 2024 GOP Presidential Primary.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sits in a distant second place and is trying to play catch up.
And now Ron DeSantis made a major declaration about Donald Trump that no one ever expected to hear.
When campaigns are in trouble, they begin leaking strategy and polling memos to the press in an attempt to reverse a narrative that is taking hold in the minds of voters.
In the case of DeSantis, the Florida Governor is trying to fight off the perception that his campaign is a sinking ship.
Donald Trump has expanded his lead and consolidated his control over the GOP since DeSantis entered the race in May.
A new Morning Consult poll shows Trump leading DeSantis by 39 points.
Polls in New Hampshire, Iowa, and South Carolina all show Trump holding healthy leads.
The big-money donors who wanted to see Trump defeated initially decided DeSantis was their man.
After these donors grew skittish, DeSantis’ campaign tried to calm their nerves by leaking a “confidential” memo to supporters outlining his plan to right the ship.
In a campaign, slapping “confidential” on a memo might as well say “please publish.”
That’s why there is a strong likelihood the DeSantis campaign sent this memo to reporters before they sent it to donors.
The DeSantis campaign explained in the memo that it was focusing all efforts on Iowa and New Hampshire and pulling up stakes on Super Tuesday for the moment.
“While Super Tuesday is critically important, we will not dedicate resources to Super Tuesday that slow our momentum in New Hampshire,” the memo read. “We expect to revisit this investment in the Fall.”
“From my understanding, if we don’t see a bump in the polls, we are basically going to shut down the idea of a national operation,” an operative associated with DeSantis told NBC News.
But what stood out was DeSantis singling out South Carolina Senator Tim Scott and RINO former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley for criticism.
“While Tim Scott has earned a serious look at this stage, his bio is lacking the fight that our electorate is looking for in the next President,” the memo added. “We expect Tim Scott to receive appropriate scrutiny in the weeks ahead. We’ve found low to no interest in Vivek, Burgum, and Nikki, while far too many voters will not consider Pence and Christie for them to feel remotely viable.”
From the moment DeSantis declared his candidacy, the campaign treated this as a two-man race between him and Donald Trump.
With Trump far ahead in the polls, the fact that DeSantis’ team acknowledged other candidates only showed how drastically the terrain has shifted.