Herschel Walker’s allies believe DeSantis is “better suited” than Trump on the campaign trail
Supporters of Georgia Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker are pushing the idea of popular Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis joining him on the runoff campaign path.
Walker is up against incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in a runoff election to be decided Dec. 6.
Some Republicans worry that Trump, who backed Walker early in his campaign, could hurt the former NFL return by further interfering in the campaign and believe DeSantis or Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) would be more helpful.
“I think Youngkin or DeSantis would be a better match for soft-spoken Republicans or suburban independents that we need to single out,” Ralph Reed, president of the conservative Faith and Freedom Coalition, told CNN.
A person close to the Walker campaign also told CNN that DeSantis’ campaign for Walker “would be a big hit if we could get him,” pointing out that the governor of Florida isn’t running for governor of Florida Georgia, Brian Kemp, who was rejected by Trump despite the state being less than 20 miles from the governor’s mansion in Tallahassee.
Kemp, who defeated Democrat Stacey Abrams on Tuesday, has reportedly told allies he wants to help Walker in any way he can before December 6.
Trump allies told CNN that if DeSantis were promoting Walker, it would be much more difficult to convince Trump to stay out of the state.
“Introduce [Trump] seeing Ron stand up for Herschel while being told, ‘Please stay away.’ He would go ballistic,” the Trump ally told the outlet.
Trump went on a social media tirade against DeSantis on Thursday, saying DeSantis shouldn’t run in 2024 and blasting him as “an average REPUBLICAN governor with great public relations.”
Trump also berated Youngkin in a racially insensitive attack on Friday, in which he said the governor’s name “sounds Chinese.”
As the GOP’s hopes for control of the Senate increasingly look like they will depend on the result in Georgia, party strategists fear Trump’s involvement in the runoff will drive Republican voters out of the election.
“Hopefully Trump stays out of the running as much as possible,” a Republican adviser told The Hill.
One compromise being discussed on Trumpworld, according to CNN, is for the 45th President to write a generous check to help Walker’s campaign. Sitting on a war chest of more than $100 million, Trump’s MAGA Inc. Super PAC gave $16.4 million to GOP candidates as the 2022 cycle drew to a close.
“He’s looking at how he can salvage this moment, and one of the ways he can do that is by helping Walker win,” a Trump adviser told CNN, referring to the stinging Election Day defeats that several Trump-backed candidates are said to have suffered leaving Trump in a “bad mood.”