An intraparty battle that had been brewing between former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis boiled over last week when the latter officially confirmed his candidacy for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination.
The two prominent figures have long been at the top of early polls, and many Republican voters had already chosen a favorite even before DeSantis made his announcement.
For one GOP lawmaker who had been in the DeSantis camp, however, concerns over the rocky start to his campaign caused her to reconsider.
The governor chose a novel forum from which to announce his candidacy. He joined Twitter CEO Elon Musk for what was supposed to be a live event, but it was quickly plagued by technical issues that seriously delayed his remarks.
In a statement to One America News, New Hampshire state Rep. Sandra Panek asserted: “We can’t expect someone to run the country if they can’t simply run a smooth campaign launch.”
The social media glitches were apparently enough for her to switch her endorsement from DeSantis to Trump.
“The stakes are simply too great in 2024 to take a chance on someone as unreliable as DeSantis,” she said. “We need a proven winner like President Trump to take back the White House and Make America Great Again!”
Panek called it a “miserable launch” plagued by “stumbling and bumbling” that signaled a lack of planning and forethought.
“The bumpy campaign announcement contributed to my switch,” she added. “With DeSantis, you’re getting Trump without the charisma. I want the real deal.”
Of course, the state lawmaker’s newfound Trump endorsement was not merely a referendum on DeSantis’ bungled campaign rollout.
“President Trump will be known as our Peace President if you just give peace a chance,” she declared. “Look what he accomplished with Kim Jung Un. He’s the only candidate stating that he will sit down with Putin on his first day in office and put an end to the Ukraine war. Right now we are at the brink of a nuclear war.”
The Trump campaign wasted no time capitalizing on Panek’s change of heart.
New Hampshire State Representative Sandra Panek Flips Endorsement from DeSantis to President Trump
“After being less than impressed with Ron DeSantis’s official announcement last night, I am hereby switching my endorsement to President Donald J. Trump… pic.twitter.com/2iVUkc1LMj
— Liz Harrington (@realLizUSA) May 25, 2023
A DeSantis-aligned political action group included dozens of New Hampshire Republicans — including Panek — in a recent list of DeSantis endorsements, but two of those individuals have since indicated that they have made no such statement.
One of them, state Rep. Juliet Harvey-Bolia, clarified: “I’m proud to announce my full endorsement for President Trump, and only Trump. He’ll keep us out of war and prosperous as he has in the past. Ron DeSantis will make a great candidate in 2028.”