2024 watch: CPAC visitors choose favorite presidential candidate as Trump, DeSantis remain popular

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TBEN News Digital asked attendees of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) a simple question in Dallas, Texas: Who do you want to top the Republican White House ticket in 2024?

Former President Trump, who has repeatedly teased another run in 2024, proved to be the overwhelming favorite. Florida Gov. However, Ron DeSantis, R. was also a popular choice.

“Trump, period, end of conversation,” one participant told TBEN News Digital.

One participant answered “Trump,” before his girlfriend called him, and he hesitantly admitted that he prefers Florida governor these days.

“I like DeSantis more than Trump, I know that’s an opposing opinion,” he said.

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One participant preferred a woman because former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, R., would be good candidates. But for just about everyone else, there were only two choices, or in one case, three.

“Trump, DeSantis, [Ted] Cruz – I’d take them all,” said one contestant.

Other attendees wanted a Trump-DeSantis unity ticket, which is unlikely but a favorable scenario for many conservatives. The response TBEN News Digital received mirrored a straw poll conducted earlier this year at CPAC in Orlando, when Trump captured 59% of the vote cast. DeSantis came in a distant second with 28%, while no one else of the 19 names on the ballot made it to 2%.

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The views of CPAC Texas attendees will become clearer when the results of the GOP presidential nomination straw poll voting area are announced. Trump sits on top of the vote, along with 20 other Republicans considered potential White House contenders in the 2024 election. CPAC attendees can participate using the event’s app.

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In addition to Trump and DeSantis, the CPAC Texas straw poll vote will include a range of other candidates, including Haley, Noem, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, the 2012 GOP presidential candidate; former Vice President Mike Pence; Cruz, Trump’s runner-up in the 2016 Republican primary; and Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Rand Paul of Kentucky, two more 2016 presidential candidates.

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Other prominent Republicans on the list include Senator Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, R., and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Earlier Friday, DeSantis declined to say whether he would support Trump in 2024 if the former president rejoined.

“People have asked me about that, probably a thousand different times,” DeSantis told TBEN News. “I’m actually, I’m watching the ball here in Florida…I’m doing 2022…I have a campaign coming up.”

Paul Steinhauser and Matt Leach of TBEN News contributed to this report.

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