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DeSantis meets with Sununu in New Hampshire forward of 2024 announcement

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CONCORD, N.H. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis met for an hour Friday with New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu — a possible rival for the GOP presidential nomination — forward of his marketing campaign launch as he swung by means of the first-in-the-nation main state.

Sununu, who’s critically contemplating a presidential bid and has urged the GOP to maneuver on from Donald Trump, has additionally lately criticized a few of DeSantis’s coverage strikes, together with the Florida governor’s still-escalating battle with Disney, which Sununu and another Republicans contemplate at odds with “free market” conservatism. However Sununu nodded to frequent floor with DeSantis throughout a quick interview Friday after their assembly.

“We have now an incredible relationship,” Sununu stated in a corridor of the State Home. He stated he meets with “all people” as 2024 hopefuls flock to his state. Requested if he and DeSantis mentioned any areas of disagreement, corresponding to Disney, Sununu stated they lined a variety of subjects. His spokesman, Ben Vihstadt, stated they mentioned methods on easy methods to carry out properly within the New Hampshire main, amongst different topics.

Friday was DeSantis’s second journey this yr to the Granite State. Assist right here may very well be pivotal within the governor’s efforts to drag forward of Trump, the clear front-runner in nationwide polling. DeSantis is anticipated to formally launch his marketing campaign subsequent week — simply after his visits to New Hampshire and Iowa, one other early nominating state that DeSantis’s staff is targeted on. He has already secured lengthy lists of endorsements from lawmakers in each locations.

“What I’m involved about is with the ability to fill my legislature with Republicans — and if I wouldn’t have robust successful candidates on the high of the ticket to drag all the remainder of us alongside, we’re going to have a tough time,” stated New Hampshire Home Majority Chief Jason Osborne, who stated DeSantis referred to as him final week after his endorsement.

He was echoing a broader argument about Trump’s electability that DeSantis and allies have made more and more express. They contend the Florida governor can win the final election in swing states the place Trump misplaced in 2020.

“You’ve gotten mainly three individuals at this level which can be credible on this entire factor,” DeSantis advised donors to a supportive tremendous PAC on a name this week, in line with the New York Instances. “Biden, Trump and me. And I consider these three, two have an opportunity to get elected president — Biden and me, primarily based on all the info within the swing states.” Representatives for DeSantis didn’t reply to questions on feedback on the decision. In latest dinners with donors, DeSantis has equally pitched himself as extra more likely to win swing states, in line with attendees.

Sununu has additionally argued that Trump can’t win a normal election — extra bluntly and publicly. “Donald Trump is positioning himself to be a four-time loser in 2024,” he stated final month on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

DeSantis, who’s seeking to rebound from some stumbles, is anticipated to start out fundraising for his presidential marketing campaign subsequent week as donors convene in Miami.

However the governor steered away from the 2024 presidential race throughout his public remarks to about 30 New Hampshire lawmakers at a roundtable Friday morning. Seated subsequent to Osborne, DeSantis obtained cheers for his criticisms of “range, fairness and inclusion” packages — which he has defunded at state schools and universities — and for his assist of a Florida gross sales tax exemption for child objects.

He leaned into retail politics, stopping to present one lawmaker’s child a kiss earlier than sitting down. Later, on the Pink Arrow Diner — a cramped, traditional marketing campaign cease in Manchester — DeSantis talked up his insurance policies to receptive voters, lingering for a bit with every buyer as he made his manner down the counter. Generally criticized as stiff, the governor was all smiles as he requested youngsters questions and talked about his household.

“4, okay, that’s an incredible age,” he stated to 1 baby.

“That appears good — my children could be devouring these fries, I do know that,” DeSantis stated later.

New Hampshire Republicans famous parallels between their agenda and the payments DeSantis has handed in Florida, corresponding to shared resistance to coronavirus restrictions.

On one other problem, abortion, DeSantis has gone a lot additional than Republican leaders in New Hampshire: He lately signed into legislation a ban on the process in Florida after six weeks of being pregnant, whereas New Hampshire — the place Republicans management state authorities — nonetheless permits abortions as much as 24 weeks post-Roe v. Wade. However one man on the Pink Arrow praised DeSantis for his dealing with of the problem.

“Thanks for shielding infants,” the person stated, reaching out to shake DeSantis’s hand throughout the counter.

“Oh yeah, yeah, yeah — no, you possibly can rely on me,” DeSantis stated.

Steve Vargas stated he was keen to satisfy DeSantis on the Pink Arrow despite the fact that he comes from “extra of a Trump household.” If he needed to vote within the main immediately, he stated, he’d choose Trump. However he shares others’ worries in regards to the former president’s means to win reelection.

Ryan Mulholland, 50, stated that if Trump faces President Biden within the normal election, he’ll simply keep house.

“He simply ought to step apart as a result of all he’s going to do is …. I believe he would carry extra controversy,” Mulholland stated.

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