Even though Florida Governor, Republican Ron DeSantis, hasn’t made an official announcement that he’s running in the 2024 presidential election, it’s pretty obvious that he is. He’s on a media tour, the Florida legislature has changed the law so he doesn’t have to step down as governor if he runs for president, and he’s been engaging President Trump’s attacks against him.

Former President Trump announced early on that he’d be running for president again – back in November of last year. So he’s got a pretty good jump on everyone and is currently sitting as the leader of the Republican presidential candidates.

FiveThirtyEight has Trump receiving 49.3% of the national vote in their polling with DeSantis receiving 26.2%. The others poll very low including Pence (also not announced yet) at 5.8% and declared candidate Nikki Haley at 4.3%.

Trump is so far ahead in the polling, he doesn’t even see a reason to debate the others. He talked to John Catsimatidis, host of the “Cats & Cosby Show” on WABC 770 and said, “People don’t debate when they have these massive leads. They say, ‘Why would we debate?’ I would have a hostile group of anchors – a hostile network – asking questions. Why would I do that?”

Meanwhile, Trump is taking aim at DeSantis even though he hasn’t declared his candidacy yet – and DeSantis is playing the game because it’s obvious that when you need a little bump, you can really only do that when you compete with Trump. In order to get any kind of media coverage at all, candidates are going to have to “poke the bear.”

Meanwhile, Orange Man Bad is giving interviews, sending out Truth Social hits and running TV ads against who he thinks is his only competition – DeSantis.

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DeSantis, for his part, will have to find a lane where he can go after Trump even though he was endorsed by him for governor and has previously used him in one of his funnier ads here.

I saw an ad for DeSantis recently by a group called “Never Back Down.” It’s a pro- DeSantis PAC. It continues the theme that DeSantis is the anti-woke crusader. In the ad, they say, “Across the country men and women willing to fight. Standing up for our children, their education, and a better future. Pushing back against the woke left and unleashing a next generation economy.”

It features Ron’s speech where he said, “”You’re coming after the rights of parents; I’m standing in your way.”

It remains to be seen if DeSantis can figure out how to effectively stand in Trump’s way without losing the votes of conservatives across the country. But it will be fun to watch him try.