After Florida’s Heartbeat Heartbeat Protection Act was signed into law this week, businessman and Republican fundraiser Thomas Peterffy said he and a “bunch” of his friends are delaying their support for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for president.
According to the Hungarian-born billionaire, DeSantis has lost some “momentum,” making him “reluctant” to support the as-yet-undisclosed candidate for the 2024 primary nomination.
“I hesitate even more to support him. The Republican governor’s support for socially conservative policies on abortion and education, which the Financial Times called “extreme,” raised concerns for Petterfy. “We are waiting to see who among the primary candidates is most likely to be able to win the general before we put all of our firepower behind them,” he said.
The story quotes Petterfy as stating, “Me and a group of pals are holding our powder dry because of his attitude on abortion and book bans.
The remarks sparked a flurry of media coverage and Twitter responses, including one from Maggie Haberman of the New York Times, who tweeted with ominous seriousness that the “major” contributor has “finally” gone “on record” with news that had previously been merely a “whisper.” She revealed that the donors were becoming concerned.
The inference, which is a perfect match with press opinion, is that a politician’s electoral chances are doomed if they don’t embrace Democratic or progressive views on social matters. Trump cannot win the next election, according to Peterffy.
Although Peterffy had not yet decided whom to support, he stated in 2015 that Sen. Ted Cruz was “probably the smartest person running” in the Republican primary and that “even though personally I do not believe that abortion is something that should be prohibited and I do not believe we should not care about the environment, nevertheless I think Ted has the qualities – he definitely has a shot.” In the end, Peterffy backed Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton.
According to the Financial Times, Haberman, and frequent NBC guest Peterffy, “the Republicans have a very big problem” if DeSantis keeps up education policies that lead to some content being labeled as age-inappropriate in schools and keeps signing laws passed by the duly elected Florida legislature.