Five Florida legislators have flipped their allegiance from Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis to former President Donald Trump in the race for the GOP presidential nomination.
In all, Trump gained seven endorsements from state legislators on Saturday, the same day he gave a speech at the Florida Freedom Summit. The five who flipped from DeSantis to Trump include State Reps. Jessica Baker, Webster Barnaby, Alina Garcia, Kevin Steele, and State Sen. Debbie Mayfield.
State Representatives Mike Beltran and David Borrero, who had not yet endorsed in the race, threw their support behind the former president and GOP frontrunner on Saturday. Previously, Trump lost the support of two New Hampshire state representatives and an Iowa state senator, who each defected to DeSantis.
“As instability grows around the world and economic uncertainty takes root here at home, folks across my district tell me constantly they want to see President Donald Trump back in the White House and Gov. Ron DeSantis back on the job here in Florida, finishing the work he promised to do less than a year ago,” Baker said in a statement to The Messenger, the news outlet that first reported the endorsements.
On Saturday, Trump brought some of the legislators who flipped their support to him on stage during his address to the summit, where he reportedly received the strongest show of support among all of the GOP candidates for president. According to Florida’s Voice, when the lawmakers left the stage, the crowd began shouting, “We love Trump!”
WATCH: "We love Trump!" chants break out among Florida crowd after Trump brings up Florida lawmakers who flipped their endorsement from DeSantis pic.twitter.com/yKlux9splo
— Florida’s Voice (@FLVoiceNews) November 4, 2023
The seven endorsements follow another DeSantis defector, State Rep. Randy Fine, who endorsed Trump two weeks ago. Trump also has the support of the majority of Florida’s congressional delegation, including Reps. Byron Donalds, Matt Gaetz, and Anna Paulina Luna. Fourteen of Florida’s Republican congress members have endorsed the former president, while one has endorsed DeSantis, according to The Messenger.
On Thursday, Trump landed the endorsement of Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL). Scott, who served as Florida’s governor until 2019 when he became senator, said he and Trump had a strong relationship during Trump’s first term, working “hand in hand” to improve Florida.
“I don’t think there’s any question in my mind. He is the one person running that can really bring strength back to our country,” Scott told the Freedom Summit crowd.
In both the 2010 and 2014 gubernatorial elections, Scott defeated his Democrat challengers by just over a percentage point. In 2018, DeSantis defeated Democrat challenger Andrew Gillum by .4% but won by a margin of more than 19 percentage points four years later. In 2016, Trump won the state by just over a percentage point and increased his support in the state four years later, defeating President Joe Biden 51.2% to 47.9%.
For his part, DeSantis’s team said his detractors didn’t mean much in the race and touted his endorsements in Iowa.
“Ron DeSantis is dominating the field — including the former president — in supportive state legislative endorsements from across the country,” spokesman Bryan Griffin told The Messenger. “In Iowa, DeSantis holds a historic count of 41 state legislative endorsements, which far surpasses Trump … And, in Florida, DeSantis has nearly 100 state legislators endorsing his run for president. That, too, is a number that significantly outpaces Trump.”