OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Former President Donald Trump gave a brief three-word response on Tuesday when he was asked if he cast a ballot for the governor of his home state of Florida, Ron DeSantis.
Trump and former first lady Melania Trump were seen in a video clip walking together when a reporter shouted, “Did you vote for Gov. DeSantis?”
Trump paused briefly, turned, and said, “Yes, I did.”
JUST IN: Donald Trump says he voted for Gov. Ron DeSantis in Floridapic.twitter.com/JirUgib2cr
— Insider Paper (@TheInsiderPaper) November 8, 2022
Trump, prior to Tuesday’s midterm elections — which, by early Wednesday, did not appear to result in a large number of GOP victories, as many expected — gave indications that he would announce another 2024 presidential bid on Nov. 15. But many analysts also expected that decision to be based on the outcome of Tuesday’s elections, and if Republicans underperform, it’s possible Trump may change his mind.
As of Wednesday morning, several races had yet to be called, though Republicans were creeping towards a small House majority. The Senate, however, remained in flux, though Pennsylvania Democratic contender John Fetterman had been declared the winner over Trump-backed Mehmet Oz.
Late Tuesday, DeSantis defeated his Democratic challenger Charlie Crist in Florida’s gubernatorial race.
DeSantis was in a fantastic spot heading into Tuesday night after raising a record-breaking $200 million for his re-election campaign. By comparison, Crist only raised around $31 million, Politico reported. DeSantis has only spent around $100,000 on his campaign which means he still has around $90 million left in the bank.
BREAKING: Governor Ron DeSantis (R) wins re-election as Florida Governor. pic.twitter.com/FILd7Swa8R
— Election Wizard 🇺🇸 (@ElectionWiz) November 9, 2022
Politico believes that the extra $90 million could be used for a possible 2024 presidential campaign.
“If you look at where the money is coming from, it’s indicative of Gov. DeSantis being seen by national donors as the de facto frontrunner for president,” Republican lobbyist Slater Bayliss said.
“I think people on the left do not think their candidates sell out, and on the right we think ours cut deals, and are more pragmatic,” he said. “Former President Trump’s whole brand on the Republican side was that he does not sell out.”
“Gov. DeSantis has built on that,” he said, “And is taken more seriously by many Republican donors.”
The outlet continued:
Other governors who have taken in massive hauls in recent election cycles include self-financers like Meg Whitman, whose $176 million during the 2010 California gubernatorial campaign included $144 million of her own money. Illinois Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker nearly entirely self-funded his $176 million 2018 campaign and $133 million reelection bid.
Texas Republican Greg Abbot, meanwhile, raised $116 million for his 2022 reelection bid. But Democratic gubernatorial nominee Beto O’Rourke — who has outraised him since the summer — has forced Abbott to outspend his opponent by wide margins. Now, Abbott is left with less cash on hand than O’Rourke for the second reporting period in a row, with his overall coffers hitting a nearly two-decade low.
“It has long been said that ‘money is the mother’s milk of politics,’” Florida Republican consultant David Johnson said. “The DeSantis team has built a national dairy farm to table operation in just four years. We have seen large networked donor operations on a grand scale operate in the past, to some great effect.”
“Team DeSantis is more notable because it is small, fierce and reaping such huge amounts,” he said.
As for Trump, he and “his top advisers have been signaling for weeks that a 2024 announcement is imminent. But those discussions have reached the point that allies are blocking off days in their calendars for the week after the midterms — and preparing to travel,” Axios reported.
“With polls pointing toward a good night for Republicans on Tuesday, Trump plans to surf the GOP’s expected post-midterm euphoria to build momentum for his own effort to retake the White House. Look for Trump to take credit for Republican victories across the board —including those he propelled with his endorsements, and even those he had nothing to do with. In recent weeks, Trump has been inching closer and closer to saying he is running, relishing the applause as he hints to his rally crowds that he’s doing it,” the report added.