DeSantis overshadowing Abbott as leading conservative ahead of the 2024 presidential election

The Texas governor has not announced a presidential run and has struggled to maintain his national stronghold in recent years.

By Molly-Jo TiltonJune 14, 2023 11:59 am,

Big names, like Florida governor Ron DeSantis and former president Donald Trump, have announced their campaigns for the Republican presidential nomination. Notably missing, however, is Texas governor Greg Abbott.

Governors Abbott and DeSantis have long been considered presidential hopefuls, but only the later has announced a bid. The two have made similar policy decisions for years, but it’s DeSantis that seems to be coming out on top.

Michael Mooney, a reporter for Axios, said that this has lead to a shift in what he calls the “flagship for conservative policies.”

“I think, you know, there have been so many books written about how Texas is the kind of conservative policy leader and the way Texas goes, the Republican Party goes generally. I think that we’re seeing that shift more towards Florida, at least this year and this election cycle,” Mooney said.

Mooney attributed this to DeSantis’ different style of politics, despite the similarities in policy.

“His rhetoric and his style is definitely different than Greg Abbott’s. Greg Abbott is kind of a traditional Republican in terms of rhetoric – he did not really get in front of a lot of those bills in terms of what he was campaigning on. Ron DeSantis has gone the complete other way,” Mooney said. “Ron DeSantis has just a slightly more vitriolic rhetoric. He says things like he wants to ‘destroy leftism’ and ‘Florida is the place where woke goes to die.’ And that’s just not the kind of rhetoric that Greg Abbott has used.”

And while Abbott has long been considered a presidential hopeful, he has not officially announced his bid.

“There have been some feelers out there about Abbott’s national potential, national possibilities, presidential run possibilities… but I think Abbott in particular is the kind of person who reads the tea leaves and likes to see what’s possible before he makes his ambitions really known,” Mooney said. “I would be pretty surprised if he entered the 2024 campaign, just because it’s getting pretty late. But he’s also an opportunist, if the opportunity comes up … I think Greg Abbott is waiting in the wings.”

And though Abbott has not announced an official bid, Mooney thinks that he could have a good run.

“Abbott won reelection in November by 11 points. DeSantis won reelection in November by 20 points. So, you know, I think if either one of them were at the top of a ballot, they would have a pretty good chance of getting the Republican nomination.”

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