Florida Republicans will no longer require 2024 Republican presidential candidates to sign a loyalty pledge pledging to support the party’s eventual nominee in order to appear in the Sunshine State’s primary election.
The oath requirement was eliminated Friday in a vote during the state Republican Party’s quarterly meeting in Orlando, Florida.
“Common sense prevailed in the Florida Republican Party tonight,” said Florida State Senator Joe Gruters, who introduced the motion to rescind the loyalty pledge, according to NBC News.
The vote to rescind the commitment was “overwhelming,” Gruters added.
The compromise text was approved by the party in May and presented to Florida election officials in July. It was planned to be a mandatory step for all GOP candidates seeking to appear on the state’s March 19 primary ballots and followed the Republican National Committee’s announcement earlier this year that GOP presidential debate participants they must promise to support the party’s standard bearer in order to be allowed on stage.
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Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ campaign spokesman criticized Friday’s vote.
“We believe that anyone who would like to run for president as a Republican should be willing to pledge their support to our eventual nominee,” Bryan Griffin told NBC News. “It is surprising that anyone interested in seeing Joe Biden defeated in 2024 would not agree.”
“Once Ron DeSantis secures the party nomination, we hope that everyone in the field will join him in that fight,” he added.
Ron DeSantis campaign spokesman Bryan Griffin criticized the vote, saying that “anyone who wanted to run for president as a Republican should be willing to pledge their support for our eventual nominee.” SHAWN THEW/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
The vote is considered a victory for former President Donald Trump.
The Republican front-runner, 77, has so far refused to sign the Republican National Committee’s pledge, which disqualified him from the first GOP primary debate last month.
Trump maintains, however, that he would have skipped the debate anyway because of his huge lead in the polls.
“I would not sign the commitment. Why should you sign a pledge? There are people there that I wouldn’t have. I wouldn’t pick certain people as someone I would support,” Trump told Newsmax host Eric Bolling last month. “I can name three or four people I wouldn’t support for president.”
The vote is considered a victory for former President Trump, as he has so far refused to sign the Republican National Committee’s pledge, which disqualified him from the first GOP primary debate last month.Getty Images
Trump’s lead over DeSantis reached 46 points earlier this month, according to a Wall Street Journal poll, and 59% of Republican primary voters said the former president would be their top choice in 2024, followed by 13 % DeSantis.
Similarly, Trump reached 60% support nationally in a Fox News poll released Thursday, and DeSantis received 13% support.