ORLANDO, Fla. — Almost 4 months after he misplaced the 2020 election, Donald J. Trump was in a position to have fun being a winner once more on Sunday, after he captured the 2024 presidential straw ballot of the Conservative Political Motion Convention, whereas Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida completed first in a second straw ballot overlaying a subject of potential candidates for the subsequent election that didn’t embrace Mr. Trump.
The straw polls, carried out by secret poll, mirrored the views of present and former elected officers, activists, writers and others who attended the three-day convention — a bunch that, usually talking, represents the far-right wing of the Republican Occasion and now features a disproportionate variety of Mr. Trump’s most passionate supporters.
The previous president had completely dominated the weekend gathering in Orlando — a large golden replica of him was a prime attraction for activists — and organizers of the occasion, higher generally known as CPAC, put collectively two straw polls to gauge the subsequent presidential subject whether or not Mr. Trump runs or not.
The outcomes — Mr. Trump carried 55 p.c of the vote within the straw ballot he was included in — weren’t shocking. Lots of the audio system, particularly different potential Republican 2024 candidates, had hailed Mr. Trump and made a case for his achievements to loud ovations on Friday and Saturday. Mr. DeSantis was the one Republican to achieve double digits, with 21 p.c help, within the straw ballot that included Mr. Trump.
“Donald J. Trump ain’t going anyplace,” Senator Ted Cruz of Texas mentioned on Friday to thunderous applause.
The outcomes have been launched on Sunday afternoon simply earlier than Mr. Trump appeared at CPAC to make the primary speech of his post-presidency.
The highest end for Mr. DeSantis within the straw ballot with out Mr. Trump is a lift to his emergence as a number one Republican for the post-Trump period. Because the governor of the essential swing state of Florida (which can be now house to Mr. Trump), Mr. DeSantis has turn into a well-liked determine amongst science-skeptical Republicans for his resistance to Covid-related lockdowns.
His speech on Friday seize the present post-policy section of Republicanism. “We will sit round and have tutorial debates about conservative coverage, we will try this,” he mentioned. “However the query is, when the Klieg lights get sizzling, when the left comes after you: Will you keep robust, or will you fold?”
Mr. DeSantis additionally vowed by no means to return to “the failed Republican institution of yesteryear.” Mr. DeSantis, like different potential presidential candidates, has not indicated if he certainly plans to run for the Republican nomination for the White Home in 2024.
He earned 43 p.c within the straw ballot with out Mr. Trump, with Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota ending second, with 11 p.c.
The CPAC straw polls haven’t proved notably predictive of future presidential nominees. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky gained three in a row within the run-up to the 2016 major, which he stop after a poor exhibiting in a single contest — the Iowa caucuses. Senator Mitt Romney of Utah gained 4 CPAC straw polls (in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2012) however now’s a determine whose identify drew boos and derision as one among Mr. Trump’s fiercest Republican critics.
Nonetheless, the early 2021 success for Mr. DeSantis provides him a bigger platform and bragging rights for a celebration that continues to be very a lot searching for any identification past fealty to Mr. Trump.
The straw ballot end result was possible discouraging for former Vice President Mike Pence, who didn’t attend the convention. He had served as Mr. Trump’s loyal No. 2 for 4 years, however his unwillingness to attempt to problem or overturn the outcomes of the 2020 election earned him Mr. Trump’s anger and, in flip, that of many within the Republican base. Mr. Pence earned one p.c of the CPAC vote.