Stephen Lepore writes for about an interesting development in Republican presidential politics.

Donald Trump has rattled close aides of Ron DeSantis who think the Florida governor will have to campaign far harder to win the GOP nomination, reports say.

Recent polls have shown Trump holding on to a commanding lead, with a Morning Consult survey showing the ex-president leading DeSantis by 28 points, 54-26.

It is the biggest lead Trump has seen since announcing his third run at the White House, though recent polls from Quinnipiac and Yahoo/YouGov showed him leading DeSantis from 14-15 points.

Sarah Longwell, a Republican strategist who is anti-Trump, attributes the shift to Trump’s supporters returning to him, as well as his barrage of attacks on DeSantis.

Advisors to DeSantis, according to the Washington Post have said the governor’s candidacy – which many believed would begin in May – has gone from a dead-cert ‘coronation’ to a lengthy, 50-state fight for delegates. 

DeSantis’ confidants said they still think he can catch up, with ex-GOP Rep Lou Barletta saying he’ll get a bump in the polls once he formally enters the race.

‘People in many states are just getting to know him, and campaigns are long,’ Barletta said.

A source close to DeSantis said he has ‘steel for a spine’ and won’t bend the knee to Trump’s attacks, which they called ‘silly smear tactics.

But at least one person familiar with discussions around DeSantis’ campaign said they believe Trump is ‘trying to kill him in the crib’ and suggested the DeSantis team doesn’t have a plan to hit back.

They spoke about the governor’s wife Casey DeSantis, who one source said is ‘not a down-in-the-dirt person.’

Some of DeSantis’ critics in Florida have come up with a damning nickname for him: ‘JebSantis.’

The remark refers to former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who was regularly a source of Trump’s ridicule during the 2016 campaign. Bush has already endorsed DeSantis.