Ron DeSantis beats Trump in 2024 at conservative summit

Ron DeSantis beats Trump in 2024 at conservative summit
Ron DeSantis beats Trump in 2024 at conservative summit

Conservative Republicans named Ron DeSantis as their top choice for the 2024 presidential nominee at a summit this weekend, giving the Florida governor their seal of approval over Donald Trump.

DeSantis led a straw poll of presidential contenders at the by the Western Conservative Summit with 75 percent to Trump's 72 percent. 

Organizers at the summit, which was hosted by Colorado Christian University's Centennial Institute, asked both the 500 in-person and thousands of online attendees to make their top 2024 picks among 31 choices, which consisted of leading Republican names and a smattering of Democrats, including Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and Michelle Obama.

DeSantis came out on top and former Vice President Mike Pence, who was known for his strong conservative support, came in near the bottom of the GOP choices, even trailing Donald Trump Jr., the eldest son of the former president. 

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz came in third with former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in fourth.

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Conservative Republicans at Western Conservative Summit picked Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as their top pick for the 2024 presidential race

Conservative Republicans at Western Conservative Summit picked Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as their top pick for the 2024 presidential race

It remains early in the presidential process as both parties focus on next year's midterm election. No GOP White House contender has formally announced and even former President Trump has played coy about whether he will seek a second term. 

But, in June, Trump told Fox News that if he did run again he would consider putting DeSantis on the ticket over Pence.

'Sure I would … I would certainly consider Ron,' Trump told Fox Business' Stuart Varney.

'I know him very well. He's a great guy,' Trump said. 

The Western Conservative Summit, billed as the largest gathering of conservatives outside Washington, D.C., has conducted straw polls for president since 2010.  Herman Cain won the first straw poll in 2011, followed by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in 2012 and Cruz in 2013. Ben Carson topped the poll in 2014 and 2015. 

None of the presidential contenders addressed this year's summit.

DeSantis is a first-term governor and a close Trump ally. Trump endorsed his gubernatorial campaign and hosts him frequently at Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Palm Beach.  

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DeSantis became a national figure during the COVID pandemic when he won praise from conservatives for his resistance to COVID lockdowns and other restrictive measures - even, at times, against the advice of health officials. 

He called Florida an 'oasis of freedom' as the pandemic raged. 

He also signed a controversial bill last month that would curb voting access, allowing only Fox News inside to witness the signing.

Mark Meadows, Trump's former chief of staff, told the Washington Examiner he doesn't think DeSantis would challenge the former president.

'Gov. DeSantis won't even — he's asked over and over and

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