DeSantis will make his candidacy official via a discussion on Wednesday evening with Twitter owner Elon Musk. The two will chat on Twitter Spaces at 6:00 p.m. EDT. The conversation will be moderated by tech entrepreneur and DeSantis backer David Sacks.
His presidential campaign will release a video shortly after the conversation, while top backers are convening at the Four Seasons in Miami to launch a nationwide fundraising push.
DeSantis, 44, is a native of Jacksonville, Florida. He was elected to the state’s staunchly GOP sixth congressional district in 2012 and reelected in 2014 and 2016. DeSantis won the Sunshine State’s GOP primary in 2018 thanks to support from Trump – and edged Democrat Andrew Gillum in the general election by roughly 30,000 votes (out of 8.1 million ballots cast).
An Iraq War veteran, DeSantis served as a lawyer for the U.S. Navy and an assistant U.S. attorney prior to entering politics. A magna cum laude graduate of Yale (and star outfielder on the Bulldogs’ baseball team), DeSantis went on to attend Harvard law school – where he graduated cum laude.
DeSantis made a name for himself during the Covid-19 pandemic, aggressively challenging federal mandates and moving to reopen the Sunshine State for business faster than almost any other state in America. He also endeared himself to social conservatives by challenging über-liberal Disney in the nation’s escalating culture wars.
Disney has pushed back hard against him, though, providing an opening for his opponents …
Most impressively from my perspective, DeSantis has been a leader on the school choice issue. Earlier this year in Miami, he signed House Bill 1 – a piece of legislation which allows every Florida student eligible to receive taxpayer-funded vouchers in the amount of $8,000 to attend the school of their choice. That bill is similar to the universal parental choice bill passed last year in Arizona.
DeSantis is likely to campaign on his school choice bona fides in the Palmetto State – where “Republican” supermajorities have refused to pass anything resembling comprehensive academic freedom legislation.
DeSantis will become the seventh announced GOP candidate for the presidency, joining Trump and five others. They are: Former California gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder, former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson, multimillionaire entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and U.S. senator Tim Scott of South Carolina.
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Per the latest aggregate polling data from RealClearPolitics, Trump is the runaway favorite with the support of 56.3 percent of GOP primary voters. DeSantis is a distant second at 19.4 percent, followed by former vice president Mike Pence (5.6 percent), Haley (4.3 percent), Ramaswamy (3.6 percent), Scott (1.8 percent), Elder (1.3 percent), former New Jersey governor Chris Christie (1.2 percent) and Hutchinson (1.1 percent).
Neither Pence nor Christie have declared themselves candidates for the GOP nomination, although Christie has indicated his announcement is forthcoming.
DeSantis enters the race on a bit of a downbeat. He has seen his support slip over the past few months, while Trump has seen his standing skyrocket following his indictment by a Manhattan district attorney over payouts to multiple alleged mistresses.
Trump has been bashing DeSantis for months, referring to him as “Meatball Ron” and “Ron DeSanctimonius.”
“Ron is unelectable,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social page earlier this week. “I am up on Crooked Joe Biden by, at least, seven and Ron DeSanctimonious is losing by four. His ‘campaign’ has been a total disaster!”
Can Musk’s star power give DeSantis the boost he needs to go toe-to-toe with Trump?
The world’s richest man has previously stated he would support DeSantis’ bid for the White House.
“My preference for the 2024 presidency is someone sensible and centrist,” Musk said back in November. “I had hoped that would (be) the case for the Biden administration, but (I) have been disappointed so far.”
Republicans kick off their primary process with the Iowa Caucus on February 5, 2024. New Hampshire comes eight days later (February 13, 2024) followed by South Carolina and Nevada (February 24, 2024). DeSantis is going to have to make inroads in those first two states as the “First
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.
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