Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) on Monday declared that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), not former President Trump, is the leader of the Republican Party, signaling Republican support is shifting away from Trump in the wake of the 2022 midterm election.
Asked by a reporter for Politico whether she would endorse Trump, Lummis replied: “I don’t think that’s the right question.”
“I think the question is who is the current leader of the Republican Party. Oh, I know who it is: Ron DeSantis,” she said.
“I’m saying currently, Ron DeSantis is the leader of the Republican Party, whether he wants to be or not,” she explained.
Lummis’s statement came as a new poll commissioned by Club for Growth Action shows DeSantis leading Trump in two key states, Iowa and New Hampshire, which traditionally host the first two contests of the presidential primary.
The poll of 508 likely Iowa Republican caucus voters conducted from Nov. 11 to Nov. 13 show DeSantis leading Trump 48 percent to 37 percent with 16 percent undecided. It’s a marked improvement for DeSantis, who trailed Trump 37 percent to 52 percent among Iowa Republican voters in August.
The poll of 401 likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters during the same November timeframe shows DeSantis leading Trump 52 percent to 37 percent with 11 percent undecided. An August Club for Growth Action poll showed Trump and DeSantis tied at 45 percent in New Hampshire.
This month’s Club for Growth Action poll also showed DeSantis leading Trump by a huge margin in Florida, 56 percent to 30 percent with 14 percent undecided.
Fifty-five percent of likely Republican primary voters in Georgia said they favored DeSantis while 35 percent said they favored Trump, according to the Club for Growth Action Survey.
Some Senate Republicans, however, still support Trump, such as Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), who told reporters Monday that he would back Trump’s presidential bid, if he announces one this week.
Other Republicans, such as Senate GOP Whip John Thune (R-S.D.), are staying neutral for now.
“The ‘24 [election cycle] will get underway plenty soon. I assume there will be pretty robust competition on the Republican side when the time comes,” Thune said.
Asked if he would call on Trump not to run again, Thune said: “It’s a free country and he’ll do what he’s going to do.”
“I’m not endorsing anybody at this point,” he said.