In Nevada, DeSantis Sells Republicans on Ending ‘Culture of Losing'

DeSantis, a close ally of Trump, was the keynote speaker at the event.DeSantis took clear aim at Trump while speaking at a G.O.P. fund-raiser in Nevada, though he avoided mentioning the former president by name.

In Nevada, DeSantis Sells Republicans on Ending ‘Culture of Losing'

Governor DeSantis of Florida wore black boots, jeans, and a shirt untucked to the Fund-Raiser. The dress code was 'ranch casual.' Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor, tried to convince Republican voters in Nevada who still remained loyal to Donald J. Trump's former presidency that their party's winning formula was no longer valid.

In Gardnerville, Nevada, DeSantis, who was the keynote speaker at a conservative gathering in a swing state where Mr. Trump's loyalties are still strong, never mentioned his opponent for the Republican Party’s 2020 presidential nomination.

The Florida governor tried to make a not so subtle comparison between himself and former President George W. Bush, an ally of his who now leads the Republican party in a crowded field. He called last year's midterms a disappointment, adding to a long list of losses for his party. However, he praised his margin of victory of more than 1.2 millions votes in his reelection in November.

'We have a culture of loss in this party', Mr. DeSantis added, adding that 'you won't get a mulligan for the 2024 elections.'

Mr. DeSantis spent nearly an hour speaking at the Basque Fry. This barbecue fundraiser supports conservative groups in Nevada.

Steven Cheung, the campaign spokesperson for Donald Trump, responded to Mr. DeSantis's comments in a Saturday statement made to The Times.

He said that Ron DeSantis was a fraud and a liar. "That's why his poll numbers are falling, both nationally and in Florida. He must be cautious before his chances of winning in 2028 are completely wiped out.

Since its first edition in 2015, the Basque Fry is gaining in popularity. It has attracted a number of Republican presidential candidates who flock to the Corley Ranch located in Carson Valley. The Sierra Nevada mountains provide a rugged backdrop.

Ted Cruz, Scott Walker and Carly Fiorina were all past headliners. Mike Pence was originally scheduled to attend the event in 2017, but cancelled due to Hurricane Harvey threatening the Gulf Coast.

The Nevada primary is a great opportunity for White House candidates to give an elevator pitch to the conservative grassroots. This will be a key early test ground as Nevada plans to replace its party-run Caucuses in 2021 with a Primary. Republicans are opposing the changes, which were passed by the State Legislature. They have filed a lawsuit against the state in order to maintain the caucuses.

The visit of Mr. DeSantis to Nevada marked the end of a week that saw Mr. Trump dominate the news cycle following his Tuesday arraignment in a federal indictment for his handling classified documents after leaving his office.

DeSantis, as Mr. Trump's main Republican rival, did not directly mention the indictment, but instead, echoed G.O.P. DeSantis attacked the Justice Department, and promised to replace its director. If elected.

DeSantis stated, 'We will end the weaponization this government for good'.

2016 was the last time the G.O.P. won a presidential election. Trump, who was the Republican nominee in Nevada where rural activists, Mormon voters, and other influential groups influenced the outcome, won by a large margin. He won by 22 percentage points over his nearest rival, Florida Senator Marco Rubio.

In the fall of last year, Donald Trump held a rally for Republicans in Nevada in Minden. Minden is located near Gardnerville. The G.O.P. had a mixed performance in the elections. They won the governor's seat but lost crucial races for the Senate, the House and even the Senate Cortez Masto.

The victory of Ms. Cortez-Masto over Adam Laxalt, the former Nevada Attorney General who was de facto the host of the Saturday fund-raiser helped Democrats gain control of the Senate.

Mr. Laxalt introduced Mr. DeSantis to the crowd, which consisted of approximately 2,500 people.

He said, 'This kind of leader is what we need.'

Mr. Laxalt started the Basque Fry back in 2015. He was building on a long-standing tradition begun by his grandfather Paul Laxalt who was a former United States Senator and Governor of Nevada. Paul Laxalt died in 2018.

Northern Nevada is home to one of the largest concentrations of Basque-speaking people in the country, including Mr. Laxalt who ran unsuccessfully for Governor in 2018.

Jim McCrossin (78), a retired retiree from Virginia City in Nevada, who surveyed a ranch wearing a DeSantis hat, said he previously supported Mr. Trump, but was worried about his electability.

He said: 'I think there is so much hatred for him. Trump has been arrested twice and it's likely not the last.

He said Mr. DeSantis "doesn’t have the drama."

His family is divided. His wife Jacquie, McCrossin said she still supported Mr. Trump even though she was wearing a DeSantis hat.

Shellie Wood (72), a retired gold miner and nail technician from Winnemucca in Nevada, wearing a Trump 2020 camouflage hat, said Mr. DeSantis was a good running mate but it wasn't his time.

Ms. Wood still said that Mr. DeSantis' record in Florida had left a positive impact on her.

She said, 'He stood up to Disney and many people wouldn't have had the guts to do that.

Mr. DeSantis reminded the audience of his feud against Disney, which he turned into an avatar for 'woke' cultural after the company criticised a state statute that prohibited classroom teaching about sexual orientation and gender identification.

DeSantis struggled to overcome the label of being awkward in retail politics, and when interacting with voters one-on-one. This was a result of both the media and his rivals.

DeSantis spent about 30 minutes mingling with V.I.P.s in an exclusive reception, which was not open to the media, before he stepped up to the podium.


Casey DeSantis took selfies outside the reception and signed autographs with local Republicans. She has been a constant campaigner, and a major influence in the policies of the husband's government. She was also wearing boots.

There was a pro Trump undercurrent to the event, even though Mr. DeSantis had impressed many attendees. Shawn Newman 58, from Fernley, Nev. wore a red Trump cap and hovered around a table where DeSantis campaign merchandise was displayed. He said that Mr. Trump is still his candidate.

He said that Trump was beyond the reach of other Republican candidates.