Trump Supporters Win Over Florida GOP on Loyalty Pledge

DeSantis wanted to keep the requirement
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 17, 2023 10:10 AM CDT
Trump Supporters Win Over Florida GOP on Loyalty Pledge
Republican presidential candidates, from left, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Vice President Mike Pence, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., and North Dakota Gov. Doug...   (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Florida's Republican Party decided in May on the wording of a loyalty pledge that would require candidates to agree to support the GOP's eventual presidential nominee before they could have a spot on the state primary ballot. Gov. Ron DeSantis supported the idea, but Donald Trump, given his large lead in polls over him and other party rivals, opposed it. So on Friday night, the Florida party voted to drop the pledge, an effort driven by Trump allies, USA Today reports. "We do not want to create unnecessary roadblocks for qualified candidates for president," said state Sen. Joe Gruters, whose motion was approved, "and I think once again this shows the Republican Party of Florida and the base loves the former president."

The voice vote at a quarterly GOP meeting in Orlando showed less fondness for DeSantis in his own state. "We believe anyone who wanted to run for president as a Republican should be willing to pledge their support for our eventual nominee," a DeSantis spokesman said afterward, per NBC News. "It is surprising that anyone interested in seeing the defeat of Joe Biden in 2024 would disagree." Trump told Newsmax previously that he wasn't interested in a similar, national pledge, and he has not signed it. "Why would I sign it?" Trump said. "I can name three or four people that I wouldn't support for president. So right there, there's a problem." DeSantis signed the Republican National Committee's loyalty pledge in August, per CNN. The Florida primary is March 19. (More Florida primary stories.)

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