POLITICO Mag: Can Trump Do to DeSantis What He Did to Bush?

I spoke to Michael Kruse for his POLITICO Magazine piece on the looming 2024 GOP primary and whether it will be a reprise of 2016.

Plenty of politicos from Florida to Washington and beyond say Trump is the favorite until he’s not. Plenty of others are picking DeSantis even as they tick off what they perceive to be his faults (he’s had but one close race, he can come off as prickly, unlikeable and aloof, his head’s too big and his circle’s too small …). Some see not another Jeb Bush but another Scott Walker, or Chris Christie, or Tim Pawlenty or Rick Perry — governors who were bandied about as potential presidents but never got close. But the most important comparison — for both Trump and DeSantis — remains Jeb Bush.

Bush “was the perfect foil — a living testament to the political class, a darling of the establishment who had been a successful governor but who could not have been more out of step with what the base was looking for,” Republican strategist Liam Donovan told me. “Whatever you think of DeSantis he is none of that.”

Read the full piece here.

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Daily Beast: How the Senate GOP’s Infighting Could Hurt Herschel Walker

I spoke to Sam Brodey of the Daily Beast for a piece on post-midterm feuding among GOP senators and what it says about the Georgia run-off.

It all may seem like Beltway gossip, but the impact of the GOP’s food fight was being felt in Georgia.

Asked by The Daily Beast what the view of the pre-runoff squabbling was in the state, one Georgia-based GOP operative was ready with a quip: “Mom, Dad, can we at least finish dinner before y’all scream and yell at each other?”

Liam Donovan, a GOP lobbyist and former NRSC staffer, forecast that the fighting was “bad for morale on the ground, on top of everything else.”

“Just unnecessary distraction after unnecessary distraction,” he said.

The fact that Republicans fared poorer than expected in November—making the runoff not decisive for the Senate majority and making Walker a slight underdog—is a root cause of the fighting.

“A public spat like this isn’t helpful to anybody, including Herschel, but at some level it reflects frustration that a runoff election under these circumstances is a tougher hill to climb,” said Donovan. “Beltway feuding is incidental to the outcome, but it probably wouldn’t be happening if things looked more promising.”

Read the full piece here.

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POLITICO: GOP to DeSantis: Thanks for helping us flip the House

I spoke to POLITICO‘s Matt Dixon about the integral role Florida redistricting and over-performance played in the slim GOP House majority.

Groups trying to get the current maps tossed for future election cycles say that the DeSantis-drawn political lines were always designed with a political endgame in mind.

But Liam Donovan, a GOP lobbyist, said that if Tallahassee Republicans had their way, Democrats would have the inside track to take the House at this point.

“McCarthy needs to send DeSantis and [Lee] Zeldin fruit baskets,” he said.

Read the full piece here.

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