Originally published May 24, 2023 12:19 pm PDT
Florida’s Republican Governor, Ron DeSantis, on Wednesday declared his run for the U.S. presidency in 2024, thereby stepping into the crowded Republican primary race.
Governor DeSantis’ fresh 2024 announcement, released in an audio-only format, was made public through an FEC filing ahead of a virtual conversation with Elon Musk, the CEO of Twitter.
He also made the announcement in a Twitter video post.
DeSantis’ candidacy not only brings to the fore his status as a resolute cultural conservative but also puts to test the GOP’s readiness to usher in a post-Trump era.
His ascension was marked by his transition from a relatively unknown congressman to a two-term governor and a significant figure in the charged national debates around race, gender, and abortion.
Read the filing below:
This critical announcement was scheduled to be broadcasted on Twitter Spaces at 6 p.m. EDT, with follow-up appearances on conservative platforms including Fox News and Mark Levin’s radio show.
The 44-year-old Republican governor’s move to join the presidential race had been the subject of speculation for quite some time.
Considered a strong contender for the GOP’s nomination for the presidency, DeSantis aims to challenge Democratic President Joe Biden’s administration, which Republicans believe has driven the country to an extreme left while inadequately addressing the issues of inflation, immigration, and crime.
Should DeSantis secure the Republican nomination, he will square off against incumbent President Biden in the November 2024 general election.
The Floridian governor is now a part of the diverse Republican roster, which includes figures like former President Donald Trump, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.
As of now, DeSantis and Trump appear to be leading the pack in the early phases of the campaign, as evidenced by public polling, fundraising efforts, and campaign infrastructure.
Despite being seen as Trump’s strongest Republican competitor, questions loom over DeSantis’ preparedness for the national stage.
Perhaps most notably, Trump leads DeSantis by 38 points in the most recent Morning Consult poll of 3,526 Republican voters.
And roughly “3 in 5 potential Republican primary voters (58%) would back Trump if the primary or caucus were held in their state today, compared with 20% who would support DeSantis,” according to the same poll.
The survey found DeSantis a “second choice” among “48% of potential GOP primary voters who are backing Trump, while 46% of the Florida governor’s supporters view Trump as their top backup option.”
Moreover, a new Quinnipiac poll found 56% of Republican and Republican-leaning voters back Trump, who holds a 31-point lead over DeSantis.
The Florida governor’s success has been largely attributed to endorsements from former President Trump.
For example, in the Florida Republican race for governor, then-Congressman Ron DeSantis from, the U.S. House of Representatives representing Florida’s 6th district, carved out a commanding lead, a development largely attributed to the crucial backing of Trump, as reported by Politico.
DeSantis enjoyed a 12-point advantage over his closest rival, then Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, based on an independent poll.
This lead suggested that Trump’s endorsements played a significant role in DeSantis’ successful campaign.
Commissioner Putnam, considered the establishment favorite, had shown a disregard for Trump during his 2016 campaign, a factor that may have contributed to his setback.
Trump’s double endorsement of DeSantis—first in December, and then a subsequent one in June—became central themes in DeSantis’ mail and television advertisements, which began circulating a month prior.
As the impact of these ads began to resonate with voters, DeSantis expanded his lead over Putnam to 42% against Putnam’s 30%.
According to Tony Fabrizio, a leading Republican pollster who conducted this poll for an uninvolved political group, the gap was even more pronounced among regular voters, with DeSantis enjoying a 47% to 30% lead.
Fabrizio informed Politico at the time, “It’s clear this is all about Trump and this is bad for Adam Putnam,” emphasizing that Trump’s backing had significantly bolstered DeSantis’ campaign while adversely affecting Putnam’s chances.
In 2021, when asked about the possibility of facing DeSantis in 2024, Trump said, “If I faced him, I’d beat him like I would beat everyone else,” adding, “I think most people would drop out, I think he would drop out.”