Last week, Politico spoke with multiple Republican strategists and operatives who described the difficulties the other candidates are having trying to break through all the noise caused by Trump’s indictment.
Former Rubio campaign manager Terry Sullivan told Politico that with Trump dominating the headlines, it feels like “déjà vu all over again.”
One Republican strategist who backs Ron DeSantis told Politico that the current media cycle feels like 2016, adding that nothing “can suck up as much political oxygen” as Donald Trump.
While Trump gobbles up media airtime, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been moving forward, giving speeches at Republican events nationwide.
During an event in Long Island earlier this month, Politico interviewed some of the attendees, nearly all of whom spoke favorably about the Florida Republican. However, some said they are already leaning toward voting for Trump in the primary.
One veteran Republican strategist told Politico that the media learned nothing from 2016 when it gave Trump wall-to-wall, “roadblock media coverage.” He said, for now, there is nothing the other candidates can do about the media frenzy. He said candidates won’t be on an “equal footing” until the primary season when they are doing debates, cattle calls, and other campaign events.
A Republican Congressional staffer told Politico that there have been a lot of discussions on the Hill, with “everybody” worrying and hoping that DeSantis can put it together and defeat Trump in the primary.
Jason Roe, a Republican strategist who worked on the Rubio campaign in 2016, told Politico that the “hand-wringing from nervous nellies” over whether Trump is out-shining DeSantis is premature. He said the Iowa caucus is still ten months away and time is on DeSantis’ side.
Roe said right now, nobody is occupying the stage but Trump. But once the dust settles, that will change. He said he remains optimistic that the chaos Trump brings will create “an opening for a candidate like DeSantis.”