Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) distanced himself from a leaked debate preparation memo earlier this week, which was from a political action committee (PAC) supporting his potential 2024 presidential campaign. During a Fox News interview on Saturday, he stated, “Regarding the memo, it’s not mine, and I haven’t had the chance to read it. It’s something we have but haven’t delved into yet.”
The leaked memo, attributed to the Never Back Down PAC, recommended that DeSantis defend former President Trump during the upcoming GOP debate in Wisconsin next week. Interestingly, reports indicate that Trump won’t be attending the debate and will instead have a conversation with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
The advice from the “Never Back Down” source also advises DeSantis to aggressively confront his rival, Vivek Ramaswamy, who has gained significant ground in recent polls, while DeSantis’ campaign struggles since he entered the race in May.
A recent Emerson College poll even shows DeSantis and Ramaswamy tied at 10 percent each, both trailing behind Trump, who leads with 56 percent.
DeSantis’s campaign initially denied any knowledge of the leaked memo when it surfaced last Thursday. They stated, “This was not an official campaign memo, and we were unaware of it before the article’s publication. We are no strangers to attacks from various sources, as both the media and other candidates recognize Ron DeSantis as the strongest contender to challenge Joe Biden.”
DeSantis and his campaign anticipate being the primary target during debates, viewing it as evidence that they are gaining ground. DeSantis remarked, “When you’re directly over the target, that’s when you face the most opposition. If you examine the past 6-9 months, I’ve been subjected to more attacks than anyone else. People recognize that I pose the most significant threat.”
While still ranking second in national polls on average, DeSantis has seen a decline in support in recent weeks. His national polling average is approximately 15 percent, compared to Trump’s leading 53 percent and Ramaswamy’s 8 percent.