DeSantis’s Candidate for Kentucky Governor Loses to Trump-Backed Rival
On Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida went out on a limb. On Tuesday, it snapped.
A day after he swooped into the Republican main for Kentucky governor with a last-minute endorsement — a transfer that turned the race into an apparent proxy struggle between himself and former President Donald J. Trump — Mr. DeSantis watched his chosen candidate lose in a landslide to the Trump-backed rival.
To make issues worse for Mr. DeSantis, a Republican he had endorsed conceded to a Democratic opponent within the mayor’s race in Jacksonville, the biggest metropolis in his state.
Mr. DeSantis’s preparations to enter the 2024 main are intensifying. He has held a sequence of personal dinners in Tallahassee with high donors, and on Tuesday he took a direct shot at Mr. Trump over his dodging whether or not he would signal a six-week abortion ban.
However on Monday, Mr. DeSantis made a last-minute endorsement and robocall for Kelly Craft, a former United Nations ambassador beneath Mr. Trump and a member of a Republican megadonor household.
The transfer confounded Kentucky Republicans and people working for her rivals: Whereas Ms. Craft spent closely on the race, polls had steered she was headed for defeat to Daniel Cameron, the state’s lawyer basic, an ally of Senator Mitch McConnell who had garnered Mr. Trump’s endorsement in June 2022. Representatives for Mr. DeSantis declined to remark.
“Kelly shares the identical imaginative and prescient we do in Florida,” Mr. DeSantis stated in a recording that was despatched to Republican voters on the eve of the first.
It ended up being removed from shut. With practically 90 p.c of ballots counted, she was in a distant third, incomes simply 17 p.c of the vote to Mr. Cameron’s 47 p.c.
“Let me simply say,” Mr. Cameron stated in his victory speech, “the Trump tradition of profitable is alive and properly in Kentucky!”
His selection of phrases was telling: As Mr. DeSantis nears the announcement of a presidential marketing campaign, his stump speech has usually known as on the Republican Social gathering to finish its “tradition of shedding” in the course of the Trump period. On Monday, the phrase was splashed throughout the entrance web page of The Des Moines Register after the governor campaigned in Iowa over the weekend.
The Trump workforce cheered Mr. Cameron’s line. In actual fact, certainly one of Mr. Trump’s high advisers, Chris LaCivita, had presaged it lower than an hour earlier than Mr. Cameron spoke. When the race was known as, Mr. LaCivita wrote on Twitter, “a lot for the #alwaysbackdown tradition of profitable.”
By no means Again Down is the title of the primary tremendous PAC backing Mr. DeSantis. One among that tremendous PAC’s high strategists is Jeff Roe, whose consulting agency additionally labored for Ms. Craft.
The unsuccessful election-eve endorsement of Ms. Craft was much like the last-minute backing that Mr. DeSantis gave to Harmeet Dhillon within the race to guide the Republican Nationwide Committee in January.
Mr. DeSantis known as for “new blood” the day earlier than that vote. The incumbent, Ronna McDaniel, received simply the following day.
In the meantime, Mr. DeSantis’s evening didn’t get higher in Jacksonville, the place Daniel Davis, the Republican endorsed by the governor, misplaced to Donna Deegan, a Democrat, for an open seat. Mr. DeSantis had offered little assist to Mr. Davis past his endorsement, not visiting the town to marketing campaign. Early outcomes confirmed Ms. Deegan main Mr. Davis with roughly 52 p.c of the vote.
Jacksonville has had Republican mayors for many of the final 30 years.