On Saturday, five Florida legislators flipped their allegiance from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to former President Donald Trump in the GOP primary race for the presidential nomination.
Trump gained endorsements from state Reps. Jessica Baker, Webster Barnaby, Alina Garcia, Kevin Steele, and State Sen. Debbie Mayfield, who had previously been in DeSantis’ camp. Trump also gained endorsements from two other legislators who had not sided with either candidate, State Representatives Mike Beltran and David Borrero.
“As instability grows around the world and economic uncertainty takes root here at home, folks across my district tell me constantly they want to see President Donald Trump back in the White House and Gov. Ron DeSantis back on the job here in Florida, finishing the work he promised to do less than a year ago,” Baker said in a statement to The Messenger, the news outlet that first reported the endorsements.
“It’s time to unite our party behind Donald Trump, prepare for the year ahead and work together to prevent another four years of Joe Biden’s disastrous policies from destroying this nation that we all love so dearly,” Mayfield told the Messenger.
Trump had previously lost the support of two New Hampshire state representatives, Rep. James Spillane and Rep. Jordan Ulery, and a state senator from Iowa, Sen. Jeff Reichman, who had all defected to DeSantis.
The endorsements came on the same day that the former President gave a speech at the Florida Freedom Summit, where he brought some of the legislators who flipped their support to him on stage during his address.
He reportedly received the strongest show of support among all of the GOP candidates for president. According to Florida’s Voice, when the lawmakers left the stage, the crowd began shouting, “We love Trump!”
WATCH: "We love Trump!" chants break out among Florida crowd after Trump brings up Florida lawmakers who flipped their endorsement from DeSantis pic.twitter.com/yKlux9splo— Florida’s Voice (@FLVoiceNews) November 4, 2023
DeSantis’ team, meanwhile, said that his detractors didn’t mean much in the race, touting his endorsements in Iowa.
“Ron DeSantis is dominating the field — including the former president — in supportive state legislative endorsements from across the country,” spokesman Bryan Griffin told The Messenger. “In Iowa, DeSantis holds a historic count of 41 state legislative endorsements, which far surpasses Trump … And, in Florida, DeSantis has nearly 100 state legislators endorsing his run for president. That, too, is a number that significantly outpaces Trump.”