Ex-Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), an ally of Donald Trump’s who lost New York’s gubernatorial race against Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) in November, on Monday introduced the former president’s potential prime 2024 opponent, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), during an event speaking to law enforcement in New York.
“Right now the state of Florida has an exceptional governor who has spent years now taking this state in the right direction,” Zeldin said at the event in Staten Island.
“As we know in his heart, he is someone who is committed to make sure that people who live in his state have a fighter representing them to make sure that pro-criminal laws will not get passed in their state capitol, to make sure that prosecutors are doing their jobs and if they don’t do their job, they will be removed,” he added.
DeSantis is widely speculated to be gearing up for a presidential bid, with an announcement anticipated as soon as late May or early June.
The appearance by Zeldin, who lost his gubernatorial race against Hochul by single digits in November, is noteworthy given that the former congressman has been an ardent supporter of Trump’s. But his presence at the event with DeSantis suggests that even some of the former president’s strongest supporters are keeping their options open during the 2024 White House race.
So far, only Trump and former Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley have formally announced their candidacies.
Other Republicans considered potential White House contenders include former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.), South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.
Meanwhile, there’s speculation that Zeldin may mount a bid to unseat Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) in 2024.