With both the Trump campaign and the unofficial campaign of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis rounding up endorsements in New Hampshire to project an image of strength, four Republican legislators found themselves saying yes to both sides.
Late last month, former President Donald Trump rolled out a list of 50 Republican state legislators supporting him. This month, the super PAC Never Back Down, which backs DeSantis raised the ante with 51 endorsements in the key early primary state.
That led to Trump campaign representative Stephen Cheun scolding the DeSantis team for poaching.
He posted that the Super PAC “tried to harass and intimidate our supporters. Team DeSantis then gave their personal contact information to reporters across multiple outlets to apply pressure.”
— Steven Cheung (@TheStevenCheung) May 16, 2023
Legislator Juliet Harvey-Bolia was among the four who found herself on both lists and took the most diplomatic way out possible.
“I’m endorsing both,” she told NBC. “DeSantis has a lot of promise for the future, and Trump is great now.”
Legislator Lisa Smart said her initial Trump endorsement will not change.
“I was so incredibly proud to join many of my colleagues in endorsing President Donald J. Trump last month and my support for him has not changed,” she said in a statement released by the Trump campaign.
“I’m dismayed by the games being played by Never Back Down and I will NOT be participating in any activities with Ron DeSantis, ” she said
The other two on the list — Republican state Reps. Debra DeSimone and Brian Cole — say they are solidly behind DeSantis, according to the Daily Caller.
“Although [he] has not yet formally announced his candidacy, I have simply decided to endorse Ron DeSantis due to his convictions both politically and personally. I believe he can bring this country back to the strongest, most respected country in the world,” DeSimone said.
Cole noted he met DeSantis “individually.”
“I think DeSantis resonates better with the base here in New Hampshire. I think they’re both good candidates, but that’s my choice at this time. After hearing both of their ideas about policies and how they’re governing, I think DeSantis is better on track at this point in time,” he said.
Writing in The Washington Post, columnist Philip Bump said that whose side those four legislators end up on “doesn’t really matter. None of them is likely to convince many voters how to vote; I don’t think many New Hampshirites are waiting to hear from their local representative before deciding between Trump and DeSantis.”
“What this is a measure of, instead, is the way in which minute elements of presidential campaigning become highly valued markers for the candidates and for observers in the months before the voting actually begins,” he wrote.
“Those four legislators are leaves at the bottom of an empty cup of tea, with people peering in, brows knitted, and evaluating whether Trump’s support is slipping or DeSantis’s PAC is failing to nail details or something else entirely. And, from those starting points, all sorts of political prognostications can result,” he wrote.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.