By Michael Williams | The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS — The Conservative Political Action Conference is still very much a Donald Trump-dominated event, but ears perked up anytime another name was mentioned during the three-day event in Dallas.

Though Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is not at CPAC, he is still omnipresent, with his name stitched on hats and T-shirts and drawing a raucous reaction whenever it’s mentioned onstage. He is widely considered the leader of the post-Trump conservative movement and a potential 2024 presidential candidate.

Ahead of Trump’s headlining speech Saturday, most CPAC attendees said they believe the Republican Party is DeSantis’ to inherit, but not until the former president steps aside.

According to a CPAC straw poll released Saturday, 69% of attendees said they would vote for Trump as nominee if the election were held today, while 24% said they would vote for DeSantis. If Trump is not on the ballot, the vote for DeSantis grows to 65%, according to the poll.

Still, in the absence of a 2024 announcement from Trump, some at CPAC said the passing of the torch should happen sooner rather than later.

Carol Cook of Allen called herself a “DeSantis girl” and said she appreciated his fight against “woke” corporations and his handling of COVID-19 in Florida, including his stance against vaccine mandates.

“I loved Trump’s policies,” said Cook, 53. “But DeSantis is less abrasive, and his personality is less divisive.”

Her husband, Kenneth Cook, said he would prefer Trump, but admitted DeSantis has less political baggage.

“I like what [Trump] did when he was in office, but the problem is it’s almost too easy for the Democrats to serve him up on a platter again,” he said. “I think DeSantis would be more likely to get across the finish line easier.”

Dale Delatte, a 65-year-old from Dallas, agreed: “The hate for Trump is …read more

Source:: East Bay – Entertainment

      

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