A prominent conservative group took sides on Friday in the battle for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in Florida.
On Friday, the American Conservative Union (ACU) backed U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., in the primary which will be held at the end of next month.
ACU Chairman Matt Schlapp appeared at an event in Kissimmee on Friday and announced the ACU was backing DeSantis.
“Ron DeSantis is a conservative warrior with a proven record of leadership.” Schlapp said. “He’s served our nation in Iraq, fought for conservative principles in Congress and I know he’ll be a great governor for Florida.”
Most polls have DeSantis ahead of the rest of the Republican primary field, thanks in large part to the support the White House has given him. President Donald Trump is expected to double down on his support of DeSantis next week with an event in Tampa on Tuesday.
Trump’s support has propelled DeSantis over Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Adam Putnam. Earlier this week, Florida Atlantic University (FAU) released poll showing DeSantis taking 36 percent of Florida Republicans with 27 percent of them backing Putnam. DeSantis did even better in a Mason Dixon poll released on Friday. In that poll, DeSantis take 41 percent of likely Republican primary voters while Putnam gets 29 percent. Both polls indicate that Trump’s support have helped DeSantis overtake Putnam.
Founded by host of prominent right-of-center figures, including William F. Buckley and David Kenne, back in 1964 as Republican Barry Goldwater took on President Lyndon B. Johnson, the ACU bills itself as the largest and oldest conservative group in the country. The group has been holding the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) for four and a half decades.
Kevin Derby can be reached at Kevin.Derby@floridadaily.com.