U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis has doubled down on a statement she made nearly six months ago that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has overtaken former President Donald Trump as the driving voice of the national Republican Party.
"Clearly, President Trump is leading the pack for the presidential nomination at this point," Lummis told Business Insider this week. "But DeSantis — his style and the issues he chooses to emphasize — are very much in keeping with what the public is talking about. That's why I think he's the leader of the party."
It’s a similar take to the position she gave in November, saying she believed DeSantis, not Trump, to be the party’sleader.
Lummis’ most recent comment provides a little more nuance on her perspective about the two frontrunners so far in the race for the Republican nomination of the 2024 election. Although DeSantis may be doing more now to influence the future direction of the party, Trump may still get the nod as the presidential nominee.
"I think he leads on policy," said Lummis about DeSantis. "So, I suspect regardless of what happens to his campaign for president, when the Republican platform is crafted, that you will see lots of DeSantis-type policy embedded in the Republican platform."
DeSantis And The Party
DeSantis has been one of the foremost conservative voices in the ongoing culture wars raging throughout America.
This year, he signed a six-week abortion ban into law and made other significant changes to his state’s laws regarding what topics can be taught in schools. In 2022, he signed initiatives like the Parental Rights in Education bill, dubbed "Don't Say Gay" by critics, that limits the teaching of certain LGBTQ subjects in classrooms.
Many other Republican-led states followed suit with bills this spring. With individual states having the power to decide on abortion and transgender debates not likely to go away soon, these issues are expected to remain a cornerstone of Republican policies.
During a press call in March, Lummis praised the Wyoming Legislature for passing laws that prevent biological males from participating in girls’ sports and women from getting abortions in most scenarios.
Trump And the Party
Despite the positive national attention DeSantis has received from many in the Republican Party, Trump still has a commanding lead in the race for his party’s nomination, according to numerous recent polls. Some polls indicate his legal battles over an alleged campaign finance violation drew more Republicans to support him.
Some at the Conservative Political Action Conference held in March said that although they appreciate DeSantis’ efforts, they still find Trump to be a more deserving candidate because of his past experience as commander in chief and that he’s much older than DeSantis.
In most ways, DeSantis and Trump are similar politically, which could make both appealing to a base of similarly-minded voters.
The faction of the Republican Party that supports or aligns with Trump politically is still the largest in the party, according to recent polls.
Lummis And The Race
Lummis faced some heat in Wyoming this winter for her support of a bill that codified same-sex marriage into law.
The Wyoming Republican State Central Committee condemned her for the vote in February, and the Fremont County Republican Party attempted unsuccessfully to censure her.
Since that time, her voting has been more consistent with record as one of the most conservative lawmakers in the U.S. Senate.
Lummis was endorsed by Trump in her 2020 campaign, even after saying she would be “holding her nose” while voting for him in 2016. She served with DeSantis in the U.S. House from 2013-2017 and described him as a “dear friend” in March.
"You know, he's a no-drama guy," Lummis said of DeSantis. "So, when you compare him to someone who craves drama, yeah, he looks kind of dull — anybody looks dull compared to Trump.
"But I think the public is also craving a little normal. DeSantis is a reflection of normal in my mind."
Lummis has said she’s unlikely to endorse a candidate for the Republican primary.
You can reach Leo Wolfson at Leo@CowboyStateDaily.com.