Supporters of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis thought they had a way to keep Donald Trump off the ballot.
But they were wrong.
And Donald Trump was grinning from ear to ear after this big win over Ron DeSantis.
The Florida primary always plays a pivotal role in the GOP Presidential nominating process because state leaders schedule it as the first winner-take-all delegate contest.
Since Florida is home to 99 delegates, whoever wins the primary is on the inside track to securing the nomination.
John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Trump all coasted to the nomination after winning the Florida primary and building an insurmountable delegate lead.
Supporters of DeSantis cooked up a plan to hand their man an advantage by keeping Trump off the ballot.
Trump refused to appear at GOP primary debates in part due to his refusal to sign the Republican National Committee’s loyalty oath, promising to support the eventual nominee no matter what.
In interviews, Trump claimed there were a couple of RINOs in the field – likely referring to former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson – who he could not support as to why he wouldn’t sign the pledge.
DeSantis allies in the Florida GOP concocted a loyalty oath of their own that said no candidate who refused to pledge to support the eventual nominee could appear on the Florida ballot.
If DeSantis supporters could keep Trump off the ballot in Florida, it would allow him to rack up a big win that could provide his campaign a boost of momentum.
However, Trump proved his dominance in the Republican Party once again when the Florida GOP executive board rejected the proposed loyalty pledge and paved the way for him to appear on the ballot.
State Senator and former Florida GOP Chairman Joe Gruters endorsed Donald Trump and boasted that the vote was another sign that the primary was over and that the DeSantis faction risked Civil War in the Florida GOP by proceeding with this loyalty oath.
“This was huge. There was no need for this oath. It’s a big win for Trump and a big win for the Republican Party,” Gruters told The Messenger.
“A lot of Republicans in this state are saying the primary is basically over. Trump is ahead by 40, 50 points in some polls and he’s battling multiple indictments. So why would our state party want to fight his campaign?” Gruters added. “If we didn’t make this change, the Republican Party as we know it today wouldn’t exist in two months. There would be a complete revolt from the president’s base.”
While the primary is not over until votes are officially cast, DeSantis’ home state GOP siding with Trump does paint a clear picture of where this race currently stands.