Ron DeSantis 2024: Everything we know about the Florida governor’s presidential bid

Mr DeSantis will not have resign as governor of Florida to run for US president

Ariana Baio
Wednesday 24 May 2023 16:00 BST
Trump releases new campaign attack ad against DeSantis

Ron DeSantis is preparing to announce his official campaign for 2024 president today, after months of anticipation.

The Florida governor will unveil his bid on Wednesday night via a Twitter Spaces conversation with Elon Musk, moderated by David Sacks.

Mr DeSantis, 44, was first considered a potential candidate for the GOP presidential nomination in 2021 when he emerged from the pandemic as a hard-line Republican.

But after the midterm elections in November, when Mr DeSantis was re-elected Governor of Florida by a nearly 20 per cent margin, he began to be considered a possible frontrunner.

For months, the Florida governor kept coy about his possible presidential bid, giving vague answers to the press and re-directing attention to his current actions in Florida.

But that didn’t stop the public and media from assuming Mr DeSantis is running.

What steps will DeSantis have to take to run?

Like every other candidate, Mr DeSantis will have to file as an official candidate with the FEC upon announcing his campaign for president.

But thanks to a bill passed by the GOP-majority Florida legislature this year, Mr DeSantis will be able to run for US president while remaining governor of Florida.

In the past, Florida required an officeholder to give up their seat to run for another public office position- commonly referred to as a resign-to-run law.

The bill, SB 7050, includes an exemption of the resign-to-run law specific to officeholders running for president or vice president of the United States.

When will DeSantis announce his campaign?

On Wednesday (24 May) Mr DeSantis is reportedly going to announce his campaign for president via Twitter Spaces.

Mr DeSantis will join Twitter owner Elon Musk on the social media platform’s audio chat feature around 6pm EST for a conversation moderated by David Sacks.

Both Mr Musk and Mr Sacks have expressed support for Mr DeSantis.

According to a report from NBC News, Mr DeSantis will launch an official campaign video Wednesday evening after the interview with Mr Musk.

The Florida Governor then plans to visit early states after Memorial Day.

A report from The Wall Street Journal said that Mr DeSantis plans to file paperwork with the FEC by Thursday (25 May).

According to the report, Mr DeSantis will meet with donors between Wednesday and Friday at an event in Miami, Florida.

How has DeSantis unofficially campaigned?

A major precursor for Mr DeSantis’ presidential campaign has been the national book tour he embarked on this year.

Mr DeSantis has traveled around the country, meeting supporters and promoting his memoir The Courage to Be Free: Florida’s Blueprint for America’s Revival.

At each stop, Mr DeSantis has promoted the values he sees important for the future of the US - promoting individual freedoms, advocating for law enforcement and criticising “wokeism”.

Mr DeSantis has been strategic in each stop to touch on values important to those in the area. In New York and Chicago, Mr DeSantis made sure to emphasize he is tough on crime.

At Liberty University, Mr DeSantis oozed Christian values, to evangelical students.

In Georgia, Mr DeSantis stopped by a gun store to speak with supporters.

For many, it is clear Mr DeSantis is attempting to introduce himself to the nation via his book tour. But the battle between Mr DeSantis and Disney, as well as other missteps, have cast a dark cloud around the Florida governor.

What is DeSantis’ record in Florida?

As governor of Florida since 2018, Mr DeSantis, 44, has proven he holds a tight-fisted conservative agenda.

Famously, the Florida governor enacted the Parental Rights in Education Bill last year, dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” Bill. It prevents classroom discussion or instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity from kindergarten through third grade and has been subject to heavy criticism.

Mr DeSantis also signed bills, banning abortions after six weeks of gestation, lowering the threshold to impose the death penalty, prohibiting gender-affirming healthcare for minors and restricting it for adults and making it easier to obtain and carry a firearm.

But Mr DeSantis’ tough approach to removing progressive or liberal ideas has also caused him problems - especially with Disney.

The massive corporation and the Florida governor have been embroiled in a months-long struggle as Mr DeSantis has gone after Disney for criticising or refusing Florida’s legislation.

In return, Disney has mocked Mr DeSantis, and more recently, threatened to pull investments out of the state.

What does polling show?

Polling shows Mr Trump ahead of Mr DeSantis by a considerable margin.

National polls show Mr Trump polling at approximately 53 per cent while Mr DeSantis is at approximately 20 per cent among Republican candidates.

But that margin between the two was smaller in March, according to FiveThirtyEight.

A Fox News poll reflects similar numbers with Mr Trump at 53 per cent and Mr DeSantis at 21 per cent, though both candidates’ numbers have dropped since March.

Another poll from RealClearPolitics shows Mr Trump ahead at approximately 56 per cent and Mr DeSantis at 19 per cent.

Mr DeSantis’ popularity has fluctuated over the last year, often reflecting controversial legislation. When the Florida Governor signed the Individual Freedom Bill and Parental Rights in Education Bill in March and April 2022, his unfavorability increased.

Who else is running?

If the reports about Mr DeSantis’ launch are true, he would be the seventh person to launch a campaign for Republican president.

So far, Mr Trump, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, conservative personality Larry Elder and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott have announced their bid for president.

On the Democratic side, President Joe Biden announced he would seek re-election, and two other candidates: lawyer and anti-vaccine activist Robert F Kennedy Jr and self-help author Marianne Williamson.

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