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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis headed for Greg Abbott’s Texas turf to headline GOP fundraisers

Dallas Morning News logo Dallas Morning News 2/2/2023 Gromer Jeffers Jr., The Dallas Morning News
From left, Texas state Rep. Angela Paxton and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott talks as he campaigns in North Texas in Allen on Aug. 31, 2022. © Shafkat Anowar/The Dallas Morning News/TNS From left, Texas state Rep. Angela Paxton and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott talks as he campaigns in North Texas in Allen on Aug. 31, 2022.

DALLAS — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, widely considered a top 2024 presidential contender, is headed to Texas next month to headline two local Republican Party fundraising dinners.

On March 4, DeSantis is scheduled to attend the annual Dallas County Republican Party’s Reagan Day Dinner. That’s after his planned appearance in Houston for the Harris County GOP’s Lincoln Reagan Dinner.

“Ron DeSantis is popular across the county and he’s a great speaker. We’re excited about it,” said Dallas County Republican Party Chairwoman Jennifer Stoddard-Hajdu. “Clearly there may be some Trump supporters who don’t like it, but most people are looking forward to it.”

Former President Donald Trump has already announced his campaign for the White House and is considered the frontrunner. But polls show DeSantis, who has always been popular with Trump’s Make America Great Again movement, is running close to the former president.

Across the country, GOP donors are taking a wait-and-see approach to the presidential election, including big-money backers who once worked for Trump.

DeSantis’ Texas visit is notable because it’s on the home turf of Gov. Greg Abbott, who is in his third term and also considered a GOP presidential contender. Abbott says he’s focused on the 2023 legislative session, which began in January. His political adviser, Dave Carney, said the Texas governor would weigh his options after the session ended in May.

Until then Abbott won’t travel the country speaking at Republican Party dinners. Those events are usually populated with presidential hopefuls and other candidates looking to gather support for elected office.

Last year the Dallas County GOP’s Reagan Day Dinner featured former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has also been mentioned as a possible 2024 presidential candidate.

Abbott is not the only Texan mentioned as a possible candidate in the 2024 presidential sweepstakes. Sen. Ted Cruz, the last Republican standing against Trump in 2016, is also considered a GOP presidential contender, though he says he plans to run next year for reelection to Senate.

Stoddard-Hajdu said Abbott and DeSantis are two of the nation’s most popular and accomplished governors.

“We like Abbott too,” she said, adding that he has an invitation to speak as well.


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