Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) reportedly told donors Thursday that only two people have a chance of being elected president in 2024: himself and President Joe Biden.
DeSantis made the comments on a call with supporters just days before he’s expected to announce his long-anticipated campaign for the White House, The New York Times, which listened in on the donor call, reported.
“You have basically three people at this point that are credible in this whole thing,” the governor said during the call, which was hosted by the super PAC Never Back Down. “Biden, Trump and me. And I think of those three, two have a chance to get elected president — Biden and me.”
DeSantis has long been seen as one of the major contenders for the Republican nomination aside from former President Donald Trump, who still holds a tight grip over the party. Trump still leads in early polls over DeSantis, his next-closest rival in a potential GOP primary match-up, by about 36 percentage points, according to averages of national polls.
But the governor has been wooing donors and grabbing national headlines in recent months during his ongoing political fight with Disney and efforts to restrict the freedoms of LGBTQ+ Americans.
In the call, DeSantis went on to say that voters were ready to see a Republican back in the White House, but maintained that he would be a different leader than Trump and focus on legislative victories.
“I think the voters want to move on from Biden,” DeSantis said, according to the Times. “They just want a vehicle they can get behind … there’s just too many voters that don’t view Trump as that vehicle.”
Donors and supporters have been invited to Miami next week, and DeSantis is expected to file paperwork by next Thursday with the Federal Election Commission declaring his candidacy, according to reports by the Times and The Wall Street Journal.
Trump, who announced his own reelection bid last November, has spent months lambasting DeSantis and his tenure as Florida governor. The former president, who lives in the state, declared Florida “among the worst states” to live in last month under DeSantis’ leadership.