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IL GOP Establishment Torn Between Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis, as FL Gov. Struggles on the Campaign Trail While Trump’s Support Rises



By Illinois Review

As Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis struggles on the campaign trail – and his poll numbers continue to drop, IL GOP establishment figures are now torn on who to support in the presidential primary – with some sticking with DeSantis, while others are jumping ship to support Ambassador Nikki Haley, instead.

Haley was the 116th governor of South Carolina, and during the Trump administration, she served as the US Ambassador to the United Nations.

And sources confirm to Illinois Review that major party donors within the IL GOP are trying to urge former Gov. Bruce Rauner to support Haley over DeSantis – creating a fascinating divide within the IL GOP establishment-types.

During the 2016 national GOP convention, many IL GOP leaders, including then Gov. Rauner skipped the convention because they did not support Trump – the Republican nominee for President.

When President Trump visited Illinois in 2018, Gov. Rauner skipped the event – choosing to attend other events across the state instead of sharing the stage with the sitting President of the United States.

In the last three months, DeSantis has made two trips to Illinois – the first being a “law and order” speech in Elmhurst back in February – and during his second visit last month, DeSantis was the keynote speaker at an event co-hosted by the Tazewell and Peoria County Republican organizations, where he spoke about how “woke” policies are destroying our country.

DeSantis garnered national attention for his response during the pandemic and his commitment to keeping Florida open and free – but during the early days of COVID, DeSantis did shut down the state for a period of time – issuing mandates and encouraging residents to wear facial coverings, social distance and to get vaccinated.

During a speech during the early months of the pandemic, DeSantis laid out his plan for Florida residents to get vaccinated, saying,

“Each vaccine requires the individual to take two doses…as more vaccine becomes available, we of course will want to get that into the broader senior community first, and then the broader community at large.”

DeSantis also heaped praise on Dr. Fauci in the early days of COVID, saying,

“They are not getting a lot of sleep and they are really focusing on a big country that we have, and uh, from Dr. Birx, to Dr. Fauci….they are really doing a good job…”

On May 24th, DeSantis announced that he was running for President on Twitter – but unfortunately, the announcement was plagued by glitches and audio issues, making it difficult for people to hear the Florida governor’s big announcement.

DeSantis was widely mocked and the announcement created an embarrassing moment for DeSantis and his campaign team – a nightmare scenario for any political candidate.

But with political tensions rising between the DeSantis and Trump campaigns – some Illinois Republican Party officials are already lined up behind the popular Florida governor, including Republican national committeeman Richard Porter and former gubernatorial candidate and state central committee member Jeanne Ives.

During the 2022 primary, Porter was one of the architects of Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin’s campaign for governor – serving as “honorary” co-chairman of Irvin’s campaign, where he remained a close advisor and confidante to the Aurora mayor.

State central committee member Jeanne Ives is also backing DeSantis – and during an interview in Crain’s Chicago Business on May 30th, Ives said and tweeted, “I’m a DeSantis fan…I like a strong governor with a proven record of accomplishments…Florida has, what, a $21 billion budget surplus…”

A recent poll released by Fox News has Trump at 52.9 percent; DeSantis at 20.2 percent and Haley at 3.6 percent.

A recent poll published by Fox News has President Trump leading Gov. DeSantis by 32.7 points.

The presidential primary will take place next Spring, and the 2024 Republican National Convention will be held from July 15-18 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


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