New Hampshire Republican State Rep.Sandra Panek’s abrupt switch of endorsement from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) to President Donald Trump indicates a rising concern among some Republican supporters over the competence of the party’s candidates for the 2024 election. Moreover, the shifting allegiance, arising from a botched campaign launch by DeSantis, reflects a broader concern among establishment Republicans that Trump, despite his controversial tenure, remains a proven winner with significant political charisma.
DeSantis’ campaign launch, featuring Elon Musk on Twitter Spaces, was plagued by technological glitches and audio cut-outs, leading to an outcry from supporters. Panek’s dissatisfaction with DeSantis’ “chaotic” rollout was palpable, as she voiced her disapproval, highlighting that we can’t expect someone to lead the nation if they can’t conduct a successful campaign launch.
The chaos surrounding DeSantis’ launch, coupled with Panek’s belief that DeSantis lacks the charisma that made Trump a political heavyweight, culminated in her decision to switch her endorsement. She emphasized her desire for a candidate with a proven record of leadership and the ability to rally the masses. “With DeSantis, you’re getting Trump without the charisma. I want the real deal,” Panek stated.
While it is true that DeSantis’ campaign reported raising an impressive $8.2 million within the first 24 hours of the announcement, the technologically flawed launch and subsequent doubts surrounding his leadership capabilities seemingly overshadow this accomplishment.
Besides Panek, other New Hampshire representatives also show their loyalty to Trump. For example, State Rep. Juliet Harvey-Bolia (R) retracted her dual endorsement of both Trump and DeSantis to endorse Trump solely. Her stance underscores Trump’s enduring political sway. Moreover, it implies that DeSantis might be a better fit for future elections, perhaps in 2028.
As demonstrated by his significant lead in almost every GOP primary poll, Trump’s popularity was also a critical factor behind Panek’s decision. In addition, she praised his track record on peace initiatives, citing his accomplishments with North Korean leader Kim Jung Un and his pledge to resolve the Ukraine conflict as important reasons for her shift.
Trump’s decisive leadership style, capacity to handle complex diplomatic issues, and vow to disrupt the so-called “deep state” offer a compelling case to his supporters. These factors, combined with DeSantis’ stumbling start, contribute to a landscape where Trump’s appeal remains undiminished despite the controversy among the corporate media, liberals and RINOs that marked his presidency.
This episode highlights an enduring reality: the charismatic Trump remains dominant in Republican politics. As the 2024 election approaches, candidates must demonstrate more than fundraising prowess to secure the endorsement and trust of the party faithful – they must show tangible leadership skills, charisma, and a proven track record.