Ron DeSantis once drew national scorn for his stewardship of Florida’s Covid-19 response — critics took to referring to the governor as “DeathSantis” for his resistance to restrictive measures.
But that very blowback — marked by predictions of doom and widespread criticism for being divorced from science — has made DeSantis ascendant in the GOP. His position is strengthened among the GOP grassroots and elites heading into his 2022 reelection in Florida and accompanied by increasing conservative chatter nationwide about a presidential bid.
“He flies by instinct, not by instrument. He’s a natural,” said Ryan Tyson, a top Republican pollster whose recent survey for a private client, shared with POLITICO, showed DeSantis edging Trump in popularity among Florida Republicans.
The negative press and the predictions of widespread doom that never came to pass in Florida have made Gov Ron DeSantis a GOP heartthrob, strengthening him heading into his 2022 re-elect & increasing conservative buzz nationwide about a presidential bid https://t.co/rjtVoUobjH
— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) February 16, 2021