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Former President Donald Trump gloated on Truth Social after two candidates backed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R)–a burgeoning Trump rival–lost their races Tuesday, including a Kentucky gubernatorial primary and a Florida mayoral race where a Democrat flipped control of the nation’s biggest GOP-led city from red to blue.
“Ron’s magic is GONE!” Trump wrote, referring to Tuesday losses of DeSantis-backed candidates in the GOP Kentucky gubernatorial primary and Jacksonville mayor’s race.
DeSantis endorsed Kelly Craft, a former U.N. ambassador under Trump and wife of billionaire coal magnate Joe Craft, in the Kentucky race, and backed GOP mayoral candidate Daniel Davis in Jacksonville.
Trump threw his support behind Craft’s opponent, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, and claimed Davis would have “easily” won had his campaign sought Trump’s endorsement, he wrote Wednesday, calling Davis’ team “fools.”
The Kentucky gubernatorial race is seen as a proxy for the 2024 election cycle, when a number of vulnerable Senate Democrats are up for reelection in swing states that could flip control of the chamber to Republicans. Cameron will face Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear in the November general election after winning Tuesday’s 12-way Republican primary. The race was also Trump’s first opportunity to rebuild his endorsement record after a string of high-profile defeats of his favored candidates in the midterm election, when many GOP leaders blamed him for the party’s worse-than-expected performance. Democrat Donna Deegan’s victory in Jacksonville, meanwhile, marked a major victory for Florida Democrats in a state that has veered right during DeSantis’ time as governor. Deegan will become the city’s first female mayor and only the second Democrat to hold the post in 30 years, following her upset win over Davis in a county that voted for DeSantis by an 11 percentage point margin in November, the New York Times noted.
Cameron mocked DeSantis in his victory speech Tuesday, when he said the “Trump culture of winning is alive and well.” DeSantis over the weekend took a veiled jab at Trump in Iowa, where he said “we must reject the culture of losing that has affected our party in recent years,” an apparent reference to the midterm losses many in the GOP attributed to Trump.
The GOP also suffered a major municipal loss in Colorado, where independent Yemi Mobolade defeated Republican Wayne Williams in the Colorado Springs mayoral runoff, ending 45 years of GOP control of the city’s top government job. Colorado Springs was the seventh-largest city with a Republican mayor.
Trump-DeSantis Feud Escalates: Trump Insults Florida Governor’s Personality After DeSantis Takes Veiled Jabs In Iowa (Forbes)
Trump Ally Defeats DeSantis-Backed Candidate In Kentucky Gubernatorial Primary (Forbes)
Trump-Backed Candidates Have Mixed Showing In Midterms—And Trump Is Reportedly Furious (Forbes)