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Florida Republican Party cancels planned Pledge of Allegiance in Trump’s victory over DeSantis | CNN Politics


The Florida Republican Party on Friday night scrapped plans to require presidential candidates to sign a loyalty oath, siding with the former president. donald trump on Governor Ron DeSantis in a proxy war that tested the strength of the two rivals’ support in their home state.

The party had quietly agreed in May to institute a compromise, forcing candidates to promise to back the Republican nominee in order to reach next year’s primary election, a move seen by Trump allies as a move aimed at boosting DeSantis. Pro-Trump forces in the party, led by state Sen. Joe Gruters, pushed to reverse course Friday, arguing that the state GOP violated national party rules prohibiting such changes to candidate eligibility requirements within of the two years following an election.

Gruters, former chairman of the Florida Republican Party, filed a motion to remove the language and won in a voice vote by an “overwhelming” margin, he told CNN.

“Common sense prevailed in the Florida Republican Party tonight,” Gruters said.

The vote by the state Republican Party’s executive committee took place during the organization’s quarterly meeting in Orlando, an event that should have been a celebration of the party’s recent electoral successes and an opportunity to lay the groundwork for the campaign to keep Florida red. in 2024.

Instead, the meeting exposed deepening divisions in the state party over its two presidential candidates. The result suggests that Trump maintains the lead over DeSantis in his shared home state.

Florida Republican Party Chairman Christian Ziegler did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In a statement to CNN after the vote, DeSantis spokesman Bryan Griffin said, “Once Ron DeSantis secures the party’s nomination, we hope everyone in the field will join him in that fight.”

“We believe that anyone who wants to run for president as a Republican should be willing to pledge their support to our eventual nominee,” Griffin said. “It is surprising that anyone interested in seeing Joe Biden defeated in 2024 would not agree.”

On Friday night, the two 2024 rivals had mourning speeches in Washington, DC, about two miles apart at separate Christian conservative events. DeSantis at the Pray Vote Stand Summit hosted by the Family Research Council and Trump at the Concerned Women for America Summit, where DeSantis made remarks earlier in the afternoon. The former president also spoke later at the Pray Vote Stand Summit.

In August, DeSantis signed the Republican National Committee’s loyalty pledge to support the party’s eventual nominee, one of the requirements for appearing on the debate stage. Trump has not signed the RNC loyalty pledge.

On Thursday, Trump told conservative host Megyn Kelly that he does not plan to debate his fellow Republicans, pointing to his commanding lead in the 2024 primary.

“I don’t see it,” Trump told Kelly. “Why should I do it?”

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