New Hampshire House Majority Leader Rep. Jason Osborne (R-Auburn) released a letter Thursday endorsing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the First in the Nation GOP presidential primary.
“As the 2024 presidential primary begins in New Hampshire, Republicans are looking for a strong, capable challenger for Joe Biden who can win and lead our country forward. Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida is emerging as a top contender, and for good reason. With his drive, energy, and proven record of success, I believe DeSantis is exactly the leader America needs today,” Osborne wrote.
Osborne’s announcement comes a week after former President Donald Trump released a list of 51 members of the House GOP caucus endorsing his candidacy. Many of those members joined Trump for a campaign appearance in downtown Manchester.
Recent polls have consistently shown Trump enjoying a lead among Granite State GOP primary voters, and the former president has stepped up his focus on the First in the Nation primary. He will participate in a CNN-hosted town hall at St. Anselm College next Wednesday.
In his endorsement, Osborne highlighted the success DeSantis has had getting the support of swing voters in the suburbs.
“In recent years, the Republican party has struggled to connect with suburban voters. However, Gov. DeSantis understands the importance of reaching out to these voters and bringing them back into the Republican Party. His leadership and record of success in Florida can serve as a model for how Republicans can win back suburban voters across the country,” Osborne wrote.
It is a particularly important issue for U.S. House Republicans, who are clinging to a 200-196 majority after losing seats in bedroom communities like Bedford that were, until recently, GOP strongholds. And its members have privately expressed fears that another election cycle with Trump at the top of the ticket would be devastating for their caucus.
“The feeling is that we might as well fold up our tents if it’s Trump,” one GOP House member told NHJournal on background.
Osborne is no John Kasich Republican. He is part of the GOP’s “liberty” movement with strong ties with the House Freedom Caucus. And, notes New Hampshire political veteran Greg Moore, he is one of the few Republicans in the state whose endorsement is likely to make an impact.
“As the leader of the largest state legislative body in the nation, Osborne’s endorsement matters. This is definitely a coup for DeSantis, assuming he decides to run,” said Moore, head of Americans for Prosperity – New Hampshire.
“With DeSantis at the helm, the Republican Party can become a true coalition of working-class Americans and suburban voters,” Osborne wrote. “DeSantis is a man who knows how to win, and he can help Republicans win in 2024.”