Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has already picked up his first key New Jersey Republican endorsement if he seeks the presidency in 2024.
Carlos Rendo, the mayor of Woodcliff Lake and the 2017 GOP nominee for Lt. Governor of New Jersey, told the New Jersey Globe he’s “100% behind DeSantis.”
“I think we need to move on from Trump.” Rendo said. “Governor DeSantis is the perfect person. He’s the next Ronald Reagan.”
An early public endorsement could position the Bergen County mayor to begin organizing statewide support for DeSantis, at least informally, to assemble a local campaign organization.
That’s a path former Morris County Freeholder Chris Christie took in 1999 when he helped organize trips of New Jersey GOP leaders to travel to Austin to meet with Texas Gov. George W. Bush, who was considering a presidential run. Christie’s reward was the U.S. Attorney post.
Rendo’s early endorsement is an indication that Christie will have a tough time getting New Jersey Republicans to remain uncommitted until he decides whether he will make a second bid for the GOP presidential nomination. There is no indication that Christie has strong support in his home state for another run, and he has been polling at zero percent in Iowa and New Hampshire.
But Rendo, who ran statewide five years ago on a ticket with gubernatorial candidate Kim Guadagno, probably isn’t concerned about Christie’s reaction. He backed Marco Rubio for president in 2016, not the former New Jersey governor.
“I believe in Governor DeSantis,” Rendo said. “He’s done a phenomenal job with the state of Florida and he’ll do a phenomenal job as president.”