According to two sources, Ron DeSantis will officially enter the 2024 presidential race next week while gathering top fundraisers in Miami.
For months, the second-term governor considered the most likely GOP candidate to former president Donald Trump, has been preparing for a campaign. In rallies across the country, he praised his landslide reelection win last year and his vast legislative program in Florida, passed this spring by GOP supermajorities and tacitly sold himself as a stronger general election candidate than Trump.
DeSantis’s campaign declined to respond.
According to one of the persons familiar with the arrangements and another acquainted with the kickoff event, DeSantis will launch his campaign in Dunedin, Fla., his hometown. According to the first person, that event will occur after Memorial Day.
To discuss unannounced plans, those acquainted with them talked anonymously. DeSantis announced Wednesday evening that he would run next week in the Wall Street Journal.
DeSantis plans to officially enter presidential race next week https://t.co/sl9DrCphSS
— Post Politics (@postpolitics) May 18, 2023
As Trump has climbed in GOP surveys and attacked DeSantis, and funders have raised worries about the governor’s policy initiatives, DeSantis’s presidential prospects have grown. However, in the past week, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Florida politicians have endorsed the governor in huge numbers.
People familiar with the event say DeSantis’s team gathers donors at a Four Seasons hotel in Miami from May 24 to 26 to raise money for a presidential campaign. Fundraisers have begun meeting with the governor in small groups in Tallahassee and receiving briefings from DeSantis’s expected campaign team.
In critical states, a DeSantis super PAC has been advertising and organizing. DeSantis also appeared on Saturday at multiple venues in Iowa, the first GOP caucus state.
At a GOP picnic in rural Iowa that voted massively for Trump in 2020, DeSantis said, “Governing is not about building a brand or talking on social media and virtue signaling.” “Winning and results are what matter.”
Florida students and teachers will no longer have to “declare” their pronouns in school or be forced to use pronouns not based on biological sex.
Our teachers will focus on what matters — reading, writing, and arithmetic. pic.twitter.com/XviQB23lLF
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) May 17, 2023
A tornado watch forced Trump to cancel his Des Moines speech that day. DeSantis capitalized on the situation by adding a surprise visit at a nearby restaurant, where he and his wife, Casey, stepped up to a table to address supporters.
As allies questioned Trump’s cancellation, the governor replied, “It’s a beautiful night.”
Trump’s team has begun rolling out its endorsements and struck DeSantis a blow last month by locking down the backing of key Florida lawmakers. DeSantis’s allies responded on Wednesday with 99 Florida legislator endorsements, including the Senate president and House majority leader.
The unveiling comes shortly before DeSantis is scheduled to weigh in on Florida lawmakers’ budget, which Trump allies and other Florida Republicans underlined that the governor’s line-item veto powers give him considerable influence over lawmakers’ budget priorities.
Trump’s staff promotes the former president as the inevitable nominee, citing polling showing DeSantis and other candidates far behind. Trump has repeatedly labeled DeSantis disloyal, citing his 2018 backing that helped the then-congressman win a tight governor race against the establishment-backed candidate.
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Trump also suggested last week that DeSantis needs a “personality transplant” due to his retail politics skills.
Donors who dined with DeSantis in Tallahassee said he wouldn’t reply to every Trump attack but rather address issues. According to attendees, he also answered questions regarding his fight with Disney, one of Florida’s largest employers.
Last month, Disney sued the governor, alleging political retaliation for its vocal opposition to Republican-led measures restricting school discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity.
According to one contributor, the governor’s team feels Disney remains a “winning issue” for them, and DeSantis has continued to condemn “wokeness” in schools, companies, and the media. For private interactions, the donor talked anonymously.
Before his launch, DeSantis returns to New Hampshire.