A former Trump official launched a political action committee urging Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to run for president in 2024.
Former Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security and Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said he has been speaking to “grassroots conservative activists” who are enthusiastic about a DeSantis run.
“The energy is there, grassroots conservatives see the Governor as a leader and a fighter with a winning conservative track record who will lead the Republican Party to victory in 2024,” Cuccinelli said in a press release announcing the formation of the Never Back Down PAC.
“Based on those conversations, I am most confident that we will build an unmatched grassroots political army for Governor DeSantis to help carry him to the White House.”
Cuccinelli, a constitutional lawyer who served in the Trump administration from 2019 to 2021, told Fox News Digital that he came to the decision to support DeSantis due to an “America first perspective” that DeSantis is the best candidate for the country.
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“What’s best for America? I conclude pretty easily that Governor DeSantis is the best Republican executive that we’ve had in decades and is exactly the person who can best lead us not only to win in 24 but to lead well as president, to be a great president,” Cuccinelli said, adding that DeSantis is the “strongest Republican available.”
“He is just head and shoulders above the rest of the field in that respect, so this isn’t negative to anybody else; it’s just a recognition of how good Governor DeSantis is.”
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Cuccinelli said that while “lots of people make noise,” few have had the “positive impact” DeSantis has had in Florida.
“Regular people in Florida, the third-largest state, the biggest swing state in America, have already concluded this,” Cuccinelli told Fox News Digital. “The hundreds of thousands of people who he flipped from voting against him to voting for him are a great grassroots measure of his accomplishments.”
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Cuccinelli cited the actions DeSantis took to revoke Disney’s special status in the state amid accusations the company was getting directly tied into politics as an example that the governor “never backs down.”
DeSantis is widely expected by many political experts to be preparing a presidential run in 2024, which sets him on a collision course with Trump who announced his campaign to return to the White House in November.
Since Trump’s announcement, the former president has taken multiple shots at DeSantis including using the nickname “Ron DeSanctimonious,” while DeSantis has refrained from taking direct shots but has addressed Trump’s criticisms on multiple occasions.
Republican voters polled by Fox News in mid-February supported Trump, who remains widely popular with GOP voters, over DeSantis by a margin of 43% to 28% shortly before Trump won the Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll in early March with 60% of the vote compared to DeSantis at 20%.
Other recent polling suggests more Republicans want DeSantis to be the leader of the party and Cuccinelli told Fox News Digital that no other Republican has the “crossover pull” that DeSantis does “without moving an inch away from his conservative principles.”
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