Republicans considering a presidential bid are holding off from making official announcements to see if Florida governor Ron DeSantis sinks or makes a critical misstep, their advisors say. 

DeSantis – currently Donald Trump‘s most serious rival – has been branded by his critics a ‘paper tiger’ who lacks the charisma to run a successful presidential campaign.

Nonetheless, he enjoyed huge midterm success and has dominated polls of Republicans seeking a replacement for Trump – while prominent party members have kept their support subtle to avoid angering the former president.

As the 2024 election approaches a late surge of Republican candidates throwing their hats into the ring is expected. By this stage in 2019, nine Democratic presidential candidates had declared campaigns against then-president Trump.

There is no formal deadline by which candidates must file to run, but certain state-specific criterion must be met, such as doing so well in advance of primaries, caucuses, and the general election. The first filing deadline for a presidential state primary last election cycle was on November 8, 2019, in Alabama.

Former mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, became the latest presidential candidate to formally enter the contest in the last seven elections – doing so in November 2019.

DeSantis (pictured with his family during an inauguration ceremony this month) has been branded by his critics a 'paper tiger,' lacking in charisma

DeSantis (pictured with his family during an inauguration ceremony this month) has been branded by his critics a ‘paper tiger,’ lacking in charisma

At this stage in 2019, nine Democratic presidential candidates had declared campaigns against then-president Trump

At this stage in 2019, nine Democratic presidential candidates had declared campaigns against then-president Trump

‘Everyone not named DeSantis is having a hard time figuring out their way around him. So they are waiting for him to screw up or fade,’ said Republican strategist Scott Jennings told Axios. ‘So far, he’s doing neither.’

‘No one wants to take slings and arrows from Trump,’ said an adviser to a top 2024 contender. ‘Whether they get in early or late isn’t going to matter if they have a built-in network of donors.’

DeSantis is not known for being charismatic but has popular appeal and was characterized by the Financial Times as a ‘straight-shooter’ who can address voters ‘in a clear and direct style that ordinary people can understand.’

As Florida governor he has advocated for tighter borders and against eco-friendly ESG investing of state funds, committing to make the state ‘the brick wall against all things woke.’

Last March he controversially signed into law a parental rights bill that banned teachers from giving classroom instruction on ‘sexual orientation’ or ‘gender identity’ in kindergarten through third grade, known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.

DeSantis has vowed to make Florida 'the brick wall against all things woke'

DeSantis has vowed to make Florida ‘the brick wall against all things woke’

Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley (pictured) is expected to be one of the first candidates to launch a bid for presidency and rival Trump

Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley (pictured) is expected to be one of the first candidates to launch a bid for presidency and rival Trump

Responses among 4,470 potential GOP primary voters when asked who they would vote for if the 2024 Republican primary or caucus were held in their state today. Survey conducted by Morning Consult

Responses among 4,470 potential GOP primary voters when asked who they would vote for if the 2024 Republican primary or caucus were held in their state today. Survey conducted by Morning Consult

The Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin, one of the GOPs rising stars, is one candidate not expected to make an announcement for some time as he manages Senate politics in his own state.

Former vice president Mike Pence, described by one of his top advisors as a ‘known commodity,’ is also unlikely to announce a run for the presidency any time soon.

‘It’s in his interest to wait longer. He’s always available as an option later,’ they added.

Another potential, Mike Pompeo, has recently published a book that he will be promoting during a tour of the country in the coming months and is therefore unlikely to make any announcement soon, Axios was told by somebody familiar with his thinking.

On the other hand former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley is said to be beginning to mobilize for a presidential campaign. Some of her top advisors have moved to South Carolina, her base, ahead of an anticipated presidential run, Axios reported.

Meanwhile DeSantis is unlikely to make a public decision about running until May, when Florida’s legislative session finishes.

Trump recently performed better than expected in a poll of 4,470 potential Republican primary voters, conducted between January 6 and 8 by Morning Consult.

He remained the front-runner with 46 percent in favor, following him in second position was DeSantis who had support of 33 percent. Trump’s popularity has been dwindling however, from 50 percent when he announced his plan to run in November. 

Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin, one of the GOPs rising stars, is not expected to make an announcement for some time

Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin, one of the GOPs rising stars, is not expected to make an announcement for some time

Former vice president Mike Pence was described by one of his top advisors as a 'known commodity' and is unlikely to announce a run for the presidency any time soon

Former vice president Mike Pence was described by one of his top advisors as a ‘known commodity’ and is unlikely to announce a run for the presidency any time soon

Trump seemingly regarded DeSantis as a threat after the midterm elections, in which many of the candidates he backed – such as Dr. Oz in Pennsylvania and Herschel Walker in Georgia – suffered humiliating defeats.

In the days after the election he branded DeSantis an ‘average REPUBLICAN Governor with great Public Relations’ and labeled him ‘Ron DeSanctimonious.’

He also took to his platform Truth Social to downplay DeSantis’s election success. 

‘Now that the Election in Florida is over, and everything went quite well, shouldn’t it be said that in 2020, I got 1.1 Million more votes in Florida than Ron D got this year, 5.7 Million to 4.6 Million? Just asking?,’ he wrote.

DailyMail

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