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Who is the leader of the Republican Party? GOP senator makes strong public declaration: 'Whether he wants to be or not'
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Who is the leader of the Republican Party? GOP senator makes strong public declaration: 'Whether he wants to be or not'

The Republican Party is facing an identity crisis in the wake of the red wave that never materialized.

After a third straight election that resulted in loss and disappointment, who will lead the Republican Party? Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) knows who that person should be — who it already is — and it's not former President Donald Trump.

What did Lummis say?

The Wyoming Republican told Politico that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is the de facto leader of the Republican Party.

"The question is: Who is the current leader of the Republican Party? Oh, I know who it is: Ron DeSantis," she said. "Ron DeSantis is the leader of the Republican Party — whether he wants to be or not."

As evidence to support her assertion, Lummis cited DeSantis winning reelection in a landslide victory. DeSantis, in fact, defeated Democrat Charlie Crist by nearly 20%, which translates to more than 1.5 million votes.

As governor, DeSantis has transformed the Sunshine State from a generational swing state that Barack Obama won in 2008 and 2012 to a deep red state, flipping constituencies that historically have supported Democrats.

What are others saying?

While some Republican lawmakers — like Reps. Elise Stefanik (N.Y.), Richard Hudson (N.C.), Jim Banks (Ind.) — have already endorsed Trump for president in 2024, most Republicans are withholding any support.

When asked whether he would endorse Trump in the GOP primary, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) was unequivocal, "No. I’m sure I’ll support the nominee of the Republican Party, but I think there’s likely to be a competitive primary election."

"It’s clear that running on relitigating the 2020 election is not a winning strategy," agreed Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.). "I’m not endorsing anybody, at this point."

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), meanwhile, said he is waiting to see the outcome of the Georgia runoff before deciding whether he would support Trump again.

Trump has not yet announced his 2024 campaign, but he has scheduled a major announcement at Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday, at which he is expected to make his 2024 campaign official.

Anything else?

As if the writing on the wall could be any more clear, a new poll conducted after Election Day last week shows DeSantis leading Trump in several critical early primary states.

The Club for Growth polling memo shows that DeSantis leads Trump by double digits in Iowa and New Hampshire among likely Republican voters. He also leads Trump by at least 20 points in Florida and Georgia.

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