“You know, there’s several people out there that seem to have the same beliefs that he does. And people don’t hate them,” she said, blaming Biden’s victory on a combination of election fraud — which election officials and courts have rejected — and the visceral dislike Trump inspires. “I hate to say that because I feel like I’m being disloyal.”

There was something different next to the “TRUMP WON!” T-shirts, the “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN” hats and the “LET’S GO BRANDON” flags for sale at former President Donald Trump’s recent Texas rally: a collection of “DeSantis 2024” bumper stickers.

Nikki Rye, who lives in Florida and has been selling Trump gear at his events since 2015, said the merchandise hyping her state’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, “is a very, very sought-after item.” Beyond the stickers, a life-size cutout of DeSantis stood at one side of her shop, with Trump flanking the other.

As Trump aims for a political comeback, the DeSantis memorabilia signaled a shift emerging among the MAGA faithful. While the vast majority of the more than two dozen people interviewed at his rally at a Texas fairground cheered the prospect of another Trump White House bid, some began to concede that there might be better options.

And for anyone toying with a Trump alternative, DeSantis topped the list.

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