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Set to announce presidential run, DeSantis to address Evangelicals at NRB convention Monday in Orlando

DeSantis knows winning over Evangelicals is critical to wresting GOP nomination away from Trump

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis reacts while signing five state house bills into law after giving a press conference at Cambridge Christian School in Tampa, Florida, U.S. May 17, 2023. REUTERS/Octavio Jones

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL – Next week marks a major inflection point in the 2024 presidential campaign.

After months of speculation – and a recent global tour in which he met with top leaders in Israel, Japan, South Korea, and Great Britain – all signs indicate that by the end of next week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis will formally announce he is running for the U.S. Republican nomination.

Then the fireworks between DeSantis and former U.S. President Donald J. Trump will really begin in earnest.
So far, DeSantis appears to be Trump’s strongest competitor.

Most polls show the Florida governor with around 25% support, making him the only GOP figure to poll in double digits.

The closest behind him is former Vice President Mike Pence who currently garners around 7% support, yet also appears to be gearing up for a presidential campaign. 

Still, DeSantis is a good 25 to 30 points behind Trump.

Trump has a huge donor based.

And Trump’s team has far more experience on the national scene than the DeSantis team.

Trump’s ground forces have been through this process twice – and won the GOP nomination twice – giving them significant advantages.

Still, sources close to the DeSantis camp tell ALL ISRAEL NEWS that the governor believes he has a strong shot at wresting the nomination away from Trump because he believes he is far better positioned than Trump to actually win the general election in November 2024.

Trump’s numbers with independents and suburban women are not good right now.

Yet DeSantis won Florida – a classic swing state – by 19 points, an historic blowout.

To win the nomination, DeSantis knows he needs at least two things.

  1. Money, especially from big dollar donors.

  2. Evangelicals, especially in early states like Iowa.


“Mr. DeSantis is expected to file paperwork declaring his candidacy with the Federal Election Commission ahead of a major fundraising meeting with donors in Miami on May 25 that is meant to act as a show of his financial force,” reports the New York Times.

“He must formally enter the race before he can solicit donations for his presidential campaign.”

“You have basically three people at this point that are credible in this whole thing – Biden, Trump, and me,” DeSantis told donors on a conference call earlier this week, according to a Times reporter who listened to the call. “And I think of those three, two have a chance to get elected president – Biden and me, based on all the data in the swing states, which is not great for the former president and probably insurmountable because people aren’t going to change their view of him.”

The Times reported that the call was organized by the super PAC supporting him, Never Back Down.

“DeSantis’s intentions have been clear for months, but the decision to file formal paperwork with the Federal Election Commission declaring his candidacy, corresponding with the donor meeting in Miami on May 25, begins a new phase in his quest for the GOP nomination and puts him in direct competition with former President Donald Trump and a handful of other candidates,” reports the Wall Street Journal.


Before all that, DeSantis has agreed to deliver the welcome address at the annual convention of the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) in Orlando, Florida.

NRB’s International Christian Media Convention is the largest annual gathering of Evangelical Christian pastors, ministry leaders, talk show hosts, authors, producers, podcasters and others involved in media ministries.

DeSantis will address the several thousand convention delegates on Monday, May 22 – opening night – at 6:30 p.m. eastern.

“As NRB Convention returns to the state of Florida, we are pleased to have Governor DeSantis welcome the community of Christian broadcasters, continuing our tradition of inviting the governors of our host states to address NRB,” said Troy A. Miller, President & CEO of NRB.

“NRB Convention is where Christian media and broadcasting come to life, and we welcome national and international newsmakers at every level.”

Evangelist Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), will deliver the keynote address.

Israel Minister of Tourism Haim Katz will also deliver remarks.


DeSantis knows he’s got a steep climb ahead of him.

After all, 80% of Evangelicals voted for Trump in the 2016 campaign, and nearly as many voted for Trump in 2020.

Still, while the former president has a strong core of Christian loyalists, DeSantis and his team believe there is a growing number of Evangelical leaders and grassroots activists who have grown weary of all the drama around Trump and are looking for a strong, principled, experienced and accomplished alternative.

That’s what I’m seeing and hearing, as well – but it won’t be easy.

“DeSantis has been a very, very impressive governor,” one Evangelical leader told me this week. “He’s delivered one legislative success after another for Evangelicals on pro-life matters, on parental choice in education, and fighting woke corporations, on standing strong for Israel, and on and on and on. It’s been amazing to watch, and it doesn’t with all the drama and chaos that President Trump seems to bring with him.” 

Two other Evangelical leaders who were recently here in Israel and watched DeSantis give a keynote speech in Jerusalem said that most of the Christians in their sphere of influence back in the U.S. are grateful for what Trump accomplished while in office.

However, they are actively looking for a fresh face, a fresh voice, and someone who shares their values and temperament, not just their policy objectives. 

Is DeSantis that person?

Perhaps – but these and other Evangelicals I have spoken to note that several popular, conservative GOP governors have stumbled on the national stage when trying to run for president in recent years.

Among them: Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.


ALL ISRAEL NEWS will be covering the 2024 campaign closely since the next American president – whoever he or she proves to be – will have a huge influence on the future of U.S.-Israeli relations and U.S. policy towards Iran and the rest of the Middle East and North Africa.

That’s why our managing editor and one of our correspondents will be at the NRB convention next week.
Stay tuned for first-hand reports on a variety of topics – including the 2024 campaign – from Orlando.

The DeSantis team certainly believes they have a powerful case to make to the assembled Christian media professionals.

“DeSantis is coming off a Florida legislative session that ended this month, during which he pushed through a raft of conservative-pleasing legislation, from tougher immigration laws to restrictions on gender and diversity instruction in schools and a law allowing people to carry a concealed weapon without a permit,” The Wall Street Journal noted.

“This week, he and Trump tangled over a six-week abortion ban the governor signed into law, with the former president saying in an interview with the Messenger that ‘many people within the pro-life movement feel that that was too harsh,’” the Journal added.

“DeSantis has stressed his antiabortion credentials and noted that Trump wouldn’t say what abortion limits he supports.”

One thing is for certain: the road to the White House between here and Election Day is not going to be dull, and you can trust us for fair, balanced, insightful coverage and analysis every mile along the way.

Joel C. Rosenberg is the editor-in-chief of ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and the President and CEO of Near East Media. A New York Times best-selling author, Middle East analyst, and Evangelical leader, he lives in Jerusalem with his wife and sons.

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