Voters in the early presidential primary state of South Carolina are sounding off on why they support Republican presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over former President Donald Trump.
Fox News Digital spoke with a number of those in attendance at a DeSantis rally on Friday and asked them why they are leaning toward DeSantis, as well as their feelings on Trump, the current front-runner in the race for the Republican nomination.
“I think what DeSantis has done in Florida has been amazing. And I have been a supporter of him from the beginning. I think he is a person that will back the American people and get the country back on track, as Trump did years ago,” a voter named Sarah told Fox.
“But sometimes it’s time for you to have somebody new, and I think DeSantis is the one,” she added.
Tom, a retired businessman, told Fox he wanted someone who would implement the policies that made America the country it is, and “will keep America existing past this ridiculous administration we are sitting on right now.”
He said he wanted DeSantis to keep his campaign positive and avoid saying bad things about other Republican candidates, including Trump.
“Donald Trump was one of the best presidents we’ve ever had, and history is going to prove that. He’s terrific. He proved that a businessman could run this country and administrate this country, not a personal politician,” he said, explaining that he would like to see Trump re-elected — but worried whether he could win in the general election.
Voter Tammy told Fox she was supporting DeSantis because “he’s the man.”
“He represents my values. He’s conservative. He’s commonsense. He doesn’t back down in the face of wokeness going on, especially in the schools. He’s protecting kids against this radical ideology, which I’m all for. Yeah, he just represents everything that I am as a conservative,” she said.
When it came to Trump, she felt DeSantis had “more decorum,” and wasn’t “childish.”
“Well, I think he’s done a lot better than Trump,” voter Robyn told Fox. “I mean, he wasn’t president like Trump was, but I think he just has more of a backbone and can kind of just do more conservative policies. And I’m here to convince my parents to vote for him over Trump.”
Voter Mario said he was at the event to support DeSantis because he felt he was “the best choice for this upcoming election.”
“I just think he is more like we have a chance to be the Democratic candidate,” he said. “I support Donald Trump, but I just think that DeSantis is more appealing to the middle ground. So I think that’s why he has a better chance of winning.”
Voters Reagan and Michael, who said they were from Florida, told Fox they were “blessed” to vote for DeSantis twice as governor, and wanted to come show support for him after they moved from the state.
“I love that he’s willing to stand up for not only Florida’s youth, but, we believe, our country’s youth with his policies and things,” Reagan said. “We don’t have school age kids anymore. But, you know, when everybody was forcing the kids to wear masks and to do all of this, he was standing up trying to say, hey, let’s not do that. Let’s let the parents decide.”
“He kept Florida open during the pandemic. He actually used true science versus fake media science. And, you know, when other states were closing down, and just keeping people locked up at home, he was keeping things opened up in Florida running. And I feel like that’s what needs to happen in this country today,” Michael said.
They said they liked that DeSantis didn’t have the same “brashness” as Trump, but that they thought Trump was “a great president.”
“We feel like a President DeSantis would be more even keeled and would help the nation actually heal versus being so far left as what we have with the Biden administration, and then so far right with the Trump administration. We need somebody that’s actually going to unify this country together,” Michael said.
“He got a lot of things done… to fix, I think, a lot of what Obama broke in our country. Like my husband said, DeSantis is more even keeled. I believe he’s more rational. He doesn’t just react. Whereas Trump is really quick to if he doesn’t like what you’re saying, you know, like he talks down about DeSantis,” Reagan said.
Early polls show Trump as the clear front-runner in the race with DeSantis in a distant second place. The first contests will take place in February 2024.