For months now, Vivek Ramaswamy has been traveling around the first preliminary states of his 2024 presidency, drawing good crowds with his unusual proposals and tending to attract media attention while received little serious attention from Republican opponents.
But following a recent surge in polls — and a newly revealed debating strategy memo from the Governor’s allies. Florida’s Ron DeSantis, who picked him out – he’s having an opportune moment, ahead of next week’s first Republican primary debate.
The enduring power of The Rise of Ramaswamy will now be tested by rival candidates unwilling to see a political novice raised as a replacement for Donald J. Trump, the front-runner. are in legal trouble.
Voting at this stage of a primary campaign can be fickle, but in average polls, Mr. Ramaswamy, an entrepreneur and author, took third place, behind Mr. DeSantis and Mr. Trump, the former president is currently facing four criminal charges.
Count more, Mr. Ramaswamy’s national vote count is growing while Mr. DeSantis slipped, placing him right behind the candidate often considered the strongest Trump challenger. In a new Fox News poll, support for Mr. Ramaswamy has more than doubled since the previous poll, to 11%, compared with Mr. 16% of DeSantis and Mr. Trump’s is 53 percent. And Mr. Ramaswamy has bridged the gap between himself and Mr. DeSantis from 17 percentage points down to 5.
Fred Doucette, member of the New Hampshire State House of Representatives, and Mr. Chairman of the state party of Ramaswamy.
The DeSantis campaign refutes those numbers, saying Mr. DeSantis beat out more offensive ads than any other contender, but still came in second.
“This primary is a race between the two, but only Ron DeSantis can beat Joe Biden,” said Bryan Griffin, press secretary for the DeSantis campaign.
But documents posted by Axiom Strategies, a company owned by Jeff Roe, chief strategist for DeSantis super PAC, Never Back Down, make it clear that Mr. Ramaswamy is considered a threat. The memo details how Mr. Ramaswamy attacked Mr. DeSantis and outlined key vulnerabilities for Mr. Ramaswamy now he is becoming famous.
Some of those lines of attack focus on his past: backing in his 2022 book on “very high” inheritance taxes with “real teeth”; business partnership in 2018 with a Chinese state-owned company; and economic and social positions that are no longer supported by most Republican voters, including free trade and transgender rights. His business ventures, which made him a rich man but left others with financial worries, are just now starting to gain traction.
Other vulnerabilities are more current. Grandfather. Ramaswamy raised eyebrows this week when he told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that under Ramaswamy’s presidency, the United States would defend Taiwan militarily against Chinese aggression, but ” only until 2028” when the United States becomes less dependent on Taiwan for semiconductor production.
It’s not uncommon for political newcomers to have early moments in primaries. During the 2012 Republican primaries, then Representative Michele Bachmann exchanged the poll lead with pizzeria executive Herman Cain before voters Republicans decide the safest option, Mitt Romney.
Grandfather. Ramaswamy made no mention of DeSantis’ memos during a nearly hour-long foreign policy speech at the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California, on Thursday night. But he emphasized his age – 38 – and pointed out that he is the youngest Republican to run for president.
“What is happening to millennials? We yearn for a cause. We were starved for purpose, meaning and identity,” he said. “It was our chance to step up and fill that void with a vision of what it means to be an American,” Ramaswamy said.
Grandfather. Ramaswamy’s youth, creativity and enthusiasm are making an impression, especially in the early states. The internal poll of Mr. DeSantis’ super PAC had him at 1% in New Hampshire in April – and 11% in a survey in early August.
Debbie O’Leary, 66, from Des Moines, said at the Iowa State Fair that she voted for Mr. Trump. Trump in 2020 but would “prefer someone more charming” as the Republican nominee. Grandfather. Ramaswamy is the leading mind.
“He’s refreshing, he’s articulate, he’s obviously smart and he’s not tied to any political machine,” she said.
But he. Ramaswamy has a potential liability that the DeSantis campaign seems willing to exploit with the GOP’s white, Christian conservative voting base – his platform. His parents are immigrants from India. He maintains his Hindu faith and, as DeSantis’ super PAC memo puts it, he’s “very deeply ingrained in the Indian caste system” – his family is Brahmin, the highest caste in the Hindu hierarchy.
Even voters who like him sometimes find his name difficult to hear. At the Iowa State Fair this week, Pete Dallman of Iowa City said he was interested in “that Indian guy,” and paused for a moment before adding, “I can’t even say his name. “
Anjali Huynh Reporting contributions from Des Moines, and Jennifer Medina contributions from Los Angeles.