Gaetz holds the early lead, although most voters are uncommitted

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Just because Governor Ron DeSantis is closer to his reelection than the end of his term doesn’t mean speculation hasn’t already started for Republicans as they eye a seat the party has not lost this century.


A new poll of 1,000 likely Republican voters finds North Florida Republican Matt Gaetz as the early leader, followed by Southwest Florida Congressman Byron Donalds and Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody.

“It’s still early, we have a presidential election to go, but Gaetz is in a strong position his favorables are good,” says Doug Kaplan of Kaplan Strategies. “His name recognition is high among Republican primary voters, but there is still a long way to go.”

The poll found while Gaetz, a one-time close ally of DeSantis has the lead, the majority of Republican voters are uncommitted with more than two years until the election.

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In 2018 it was an endorsement in the primary by Donald Trump of Ron DeSantis that propelled the then-congressman into the lead in the GOP Primary. 

Kaplan says depending on the results in 2024, a Trump endorsement could change the race again.

“When we’ve asked if people are MAGA it tends to be about ten points higher here, so his (Trump) endorsement could mean a lot.”

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