Manchester, New Hampshire— Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was a celebrity before his failed presidential campaign. Republican voters often viewed him as the party's future, a prospective vice president who might become the standard-bearer and compete for two terms after four years with Donald Trump.
After a year-long campaign in which Trump pummeled DeSantis, interviews with people in early-voting states show the Florida governor may have an uphill struggle if he runs for president again in 2028. Trump followers despise DeSantis and vow they would never vote for him again, claiming he abandoned him.
“I think he stabbed Trump in the back,” said Pamela Shinkwin, 73, of Massachusetts, who attended one of the former president's final rallies in New Hampshire before his double-digit primary win. She claimed DeSantis' anti-Trump campaign soured her on him.
Manchester retired registered nurse Mary Sullivan, 76, criticized DeSantis and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley for running. “They should never have opposed Donald Trump for what he's done for this country. I can't fathom," she stated after visiting Trump's campaign headquarters.
When asked if she would vote for the Florida governor again, Sullivan said “No.” “He doesn’t deserve it,” she replied. “He betrayed Trump. He may become Trump's running mate if he stayed in Florida and backed him. As everyone says in '28. He displayed his real colors.”
Trump has used his followers' profound connection to the previous president to destroy primary opponents and sway Republicans in Congress. Whether or whether Trump is reelected, he will certainly have a huge impact on future Republican campaigns, confounding the arithmetic of 2028 and beyond nominees.
DeSantis' backers believe he may run for president again. He'll be 49 in January 2027 when his tenure finishes. They argue that he lost the primary because primary voters preferred Trump, citing national polling.
After dropping out, DeSantis backed Trump as a stronger candidate than Biden. He hasn't yet reconciled with Trump's irate fans. In response to a news report about Florida Republicans funding Trump's legal costs, he criticized Trump, stating, “But not the Florida Republican who wields the veto pen
The ex-president always battled viciously. He called Florida Sen. Marco Rubio "Little Marco," ridiculed Carly Fiorina, said Ted Cruz's father was complicit in the Kennedy killing, and criticized the Texas senator's wife throughout his 2016 campaign.
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