(CNN) — In a preview of a potential showdown in the Republican presidential primary, Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis will hold rallies in Florida this Sunday in a battle for supremacy in the Sunshine State and Republican heartland.
The former president will welcome supporters in Miami, the third stop on a four-city tour that has made Trump a key player in his party’s fight for control of Congress. Meanwhile, the Florida governor will preside over his own events in three counties on opposite coasts of the state: Hillsborough, Sarasota and Lee, moving far from Trump, who is trying to win a second term.
For the past two years, Trump and DeSantis have lived together at opposite ends of Florida: Trump is plotting his next move from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach and DeSantis is becoming a household name in the state capital of Tallahassee. But with these midterm elections looming and the decision on their political futures, even on the 450-mile-long peninsula, the two have become increasingly difficult to avoid.
“We have two stubborn politicians at the forefront of the Republican Party,” one Republican official said. “They both get attention, but they both have their own political activities, and that’s what you see. It’s tiring to talk about it.”
big Competition A slow fire was publicized in the weeks leading up to Election Day. At a rally in Pennsylvania this Saturday, Trump took a direct hit at DeSantis and christened the governor with a new nickname while declaring himself the favorite in a hypothetical Republican primary.
“Here he is, Trump 71%, Ron DeSanctimonius 10%,” Trump told the crowd as he read the poll numbers projected on a screen.
DeSantis recently endorsed Republican businessman and Colorado Senate candidate Joe O’Dea, who in October pledged to “campaign aggressively” against Trump.
“A big mistake!” Trump responded on his Truth social site.
Trump shared a clip of former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly predicting that if DeSantis decides to challenge the former president in the Republican presidential primary, Republican voters will stay firmly in Trump’s camp. CNN reported this Friday that Trump might start His next presidential candidate Soon this month.
A strained relationship between Trump and DeSantis
But the scheduling of rival events within Florida just two days before a crucial election day illustrates just how strained the relationship between the former allies has become. Unlike other potential 2024 contenders, DeSantis has not backed away from running against Trump in a primary, infuriating the former president. Meanwhile, DeSantis believes such an offer would undermine his efforts to focus on the current re-election race rather than what might come next, CNN previously reported. DeSantis and his campaign declined to discuss their plans publicly after halftime, but inside Recent discussion He did not respond when asked if he wanted to serve four years if re-elected.
Going head-to-head in a primary, both candidates may find themselves in similar financial situations. DeSantis has raised $200 million this campaign cycle through his two political committees, spending more than half of that, leaving about $90 million in seed money for super PACs. As of the end of October, Trump had about $117 million between his three active fundraising vehicles, according to federal election data.
Trump’s pre-election trip was motivated, at least in part, by his desire to launch a third campaign for the White House, CNN reported this week. Indeed, during a visit to Iowa on Thursday, Trump told voters in the nation’s first caucus state to “get ready” to return as the presidential nominee. Trump stopped on Saturday in Pennsylvania, where the Senate race between his protege, Republican Mehmet Oz, and Democrat John Fetterman is fierce, and will spend the run-up to the election in Ohio, where the former president backed Republican JD Vance in the Senate race against Democrat Tim Ryan.
But planning a rally in Florida was seen as an opportunity for DeSantis. In South Florida, US Sen. Trump first announced his intention to hold a rally for Marco Rubio last week. Since then, the list of guest speakers has included the state’s youngest senator, Rick Scott, and more than a dozen elected officials and candidates from across the state.
The decision to hold the rally in Miami-Dade County has Republicans confident they will win a Democratic stronghold for the first time in two decades. Republican investments must penetrate Hispanic neighborhoods The recent elections have paid off and the party is seeing a wave of enthusiasm turning the state red. Republicans will have an advantage in voter registration on Election Day for the first time in modern Florida political history.
Before his arrival, Trump was already taking credit for that change.
“President Trump unleashed a historic red tide in the 2018 midterm elections in Florida with a slate of endorsed candidates on his ballot and shaped the Sunshine State into the MAGA stronghold it is today,” Trump’s PAC Save America announcement said.
DeSantis has campaigned for GOP candidates outside his home state, including a recent rally in New York for GOP gubernatorial candidate Lee Seldin, who is sweeping Florida in the final days against Democrat Charlie Crist. His campaign has 13 events scheduled between Friday and Monday. On the final day, DeSantis is scheduled to visit Palm Beach and Miami-Dade, Trump’s adopted county, not far from Trump’s Sunday event.
On the campaign trail, DeSantis hasn’t talked about Trump, but his comments have been peppered with frequent references to President Joe Biden in a preview of what the current Democratic presidential campaign will look like.
At an event in Florida on Thursday, DeSantis called Biden “King Midas in reverse.”
“Biden touches it and it becomes something worse than (gold),” DeSantis said. “It’s frustrating and most people, the majority of Americans, think the country has seen its best days. They think we’re clearly headed in the wrong direction. But you know, I think Florida provides a model that other states can follow.”