With an ever-deepening pool of Republican presidential candidates, one swimmer has still not announced his intentions to dive in: Florida’s wildly popular Ron DeSantis.
But that doesn’t mean he isn’t getting ready for his big announcement. Sources close to DeSantis reveal that the governor has been quietly preparing to throw his hat into the presidential ring, although his official announcement isn’t expected to take place until after the legislative session ends in May.
DeSantis will come out of the starting gate with a strong financial advantage of over $70 million in leftover funds from his governor’s reelection campaign. These funds will most likely be transferred to a super PAC to help fuel his presidential run. Several PACs supporting DeSantis are forming including Run, Ron, Run!, Ready for Ron, and Never Back Down.
Never Back Down was created by Ken Cuccinelli, former Donald Trump ally and the acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services during the Trump presidency. Prior to his Trump alliance, Cuccinelli threw his support behind senator Ted Cruz, who most notably tried to thwart Trump’s election by attempting to change the Republican National Convention rules in 2016.
While Trump is the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican nominee, DeSantis is widely considered to be his biggest rival. Trump’s confident and quirky flamboyance is at odds with the quiet and reserved DeSantis, but despite their differing approaches to the ultimate White House victory, both share one thing in common: they keep Democrats in tissues and ibuprofen every time they make the news.
DeSantis’ current battle to pass his Stop-WOKE (Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees) Act has hit one obstacle after the next. The common-sense act seeks to ban businesses and educational institutes from promoting feelings of guilt over race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, and skin color. To Democrats, this policy flies in the face of their shaky foundation that encourages racism and divisiveness in all forms. DeSantis is not alone in his desire to abolish Critical Race Theory. Seven states have banned it already, and 16 more are currently attempting to dismantle this highly controversial indoctrination.
The Stop-WOKE Act is just one way that DeSantis gets under the Democrats’ collective skin, but not the only one. DeSantis ignored all mask and vaccine mandates, choosing to keep his state open and businesses thriving. The state’s population remained resilient and largely healthy, no matter how much the Democrats wanted them all to die from COVID.
In September 2022, DeSantis was the focus of attention when he flew 48 illegal immigrants via charter to Martha’s Vineyard, the hometown of the rich and oblivious. When faced with 48 unannounced visitors, the reaction of Martha’s Vineyard’s residents was predictable. The citizens who welcome immigrants to any state other than their own panicked and stashed the massive hoard of 48 out of sight, while the entire state went into an internal meltdown and declared an emergency.
So, with so many popular ideas and so much momentum behind him, why hasn’t DeSantis officially launched his campaign?
DeSantis acknowledges that, unlike Trump, he isn’t a natural-born public speaker. His speeches rely on substance rather than style, while Trump is positioned as somehow both likable and outrageous at the same time.
DeSantis could also be finding it difficult to choose the perfect time to announce his candidacy when his biggest rival finds himself in the headlines every day. Trump seldom passes up on an opportunity to criticize the Florida governor, and DeSantis could be awaiting the outcome of Trump’s legal woes before taking the leap.
More likely, however, is DeSantis’ desire to wrap up his state’s legislative session in mid-Spring so he can devote more time to actively campaigning.
That doesn’t mean he’s been staying out of the public eye. Florida governor DeSantis has been touring the U.S. to promote “The Courage to Be Free,” his autobiographical memoir outlining his life and numerous accomplishments in the Sunshine State. So far, he has visited Texas, Alabama, California, and Iowa where he drew large crowds but left them guessing his motives. His speeches seemed to hint at his intentions, but for breathless DeSantis supporters nationwide, the mystery remains.
Will he, or won’t he? Only DeSantis knows, and he’s not telling yet.