Former Trump ally Roger Stone vowed to split the Republican vote in the upcoming 2022 Florida gubernatorial race, unless incumbent Ron DeSantis makes a promise not to abandon his post to run for president in the 2024 election.
“I believe that Gov. DeSantis, assuming he’s going to run for re-election, should pledge to the people of Florida that he will fill out all four years of a second term,” Stone said in an interview. “What I don’t want to see is for him to be reelected and then immediately abandon Florida to run off and run for president, particularly if he’s running against Donald Trump.”
Stone would be in jail right now if it wasn’t for Trump. He was convicted of seven felonies for witness tampering, obstruction of justice, and making false statements to the FBI in 2019, but the former president commuted his sentence in July 2020.
He’s apparently paying it forward by putting the screws to DeSantis, who captured 21% of the 2021 CPAC straw poll vote of potential 2024 presidential candidates, trailing Trump, who garnered 55% support.
“I would also like the governor to declare his support for a 2024 presidential bid by President Trump which he has not done,” Stone said last week. “I cannot speculate as to why the governor has not urged the former president to run but I feel strongly that President Trump would be the strongest candidate.”
Possibly because without Trump on the ballot of the CPAC straw poll, DeSantis dominated with 43% of the vote, but losing the upcoming gubernatorial election would greatly diminish his chances of winning the presidency.
Stone doesn’t even care about winning, he has “no allusions about being elected governor,” just crushing DeSantis if he doesn’t fall in line. He said he would run as a third-party candidate to funnel votes away from the Republican vote.
“I just don’t think Florida should be a stepping stone to the president for any person,” Stone remarked. “I don’t think that I would have to get many votes to change the results of this race.”
Last week he gave a glimpse into what a campaign attack could look like when he demanded DeSantis order an audit of last year’s presidential election.
“If Florida governor Ron DeSantis does not order an audit of the 2020 election to expose the fact that there are over 1 million phantom voters on the Florida voter rolls in the Sunshine state I may be forced to seek the Libertarian Party nomination for governor Florida in 2022 #ByeRon,” he posted to social media.
Trump won Florida by 370,000 votes in 2020. DeSantis’ office said “Florida has already conducted both pre- and post-elections audits, and we are confident in the security and integrity of our 2020 election results,” in a statement.
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