Florida GOP Seeks to Change Law to Allow Governor Ron DeSantis to Run for President Without Resigning

Florida’s Republican-controlled Legislature is considering changing state law to allow the state’s governor, Ron DeSantis, to run for president without having to leave office.[0] An amendment to a state Senate bill would exempt officials who run for president or vice president from the state’s “resign-to-run” law, which currently requires officials to resign from their current position if they decide to run for a new one. The move is seen as a way to clear the way for DeSantis, who is widely expected to run for president after the state legislature’s current session wraps up.[1] DeSantis has been seen as a rising star in the GOP since being elected as governor in 2019, and his decisive reelection in last year’s midterm elections has led many to dub him as the future of the party and a clear candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.[2]

The proposed amendment was introduced by state GOP Senator Travis Hutson and seeks to clarify that the state’s existing “resign to run” law does not apply to people seeking to run for president or vice president. If passed, the amendment would ensure that DeSantis could run for president in 2024 without having to resign as governor. Should DeSantis win the GOP nomination and the presidency, he would have to give up the final two years of his governorship as he is term-limited from seeking a third term. The next presidential term would begin in January 2025, and DeSantis, whose second term as governor runs until January 2027, would be forced to relinquish his position in order to conduct a national campaign.

This is not the first time that Florida lawmakers have changed the law to aid a governor’s presidential ambitions.[3] In 2007, lawmakers removed the requirement that federal candidates had to resign from their current office.[4] In 2018, the requirement was reinstated.[2] In 2008, lawmakers changed the law so that then-governor Charlie Crist, a Republican at the time, could be considered as a running mate for then-GOP nominee John McCain.[5]

The move comes amid speculation that DeSantis plans to announce his candidacy for president after the legislative session ends in a couple of weeks.[6] DeSantis has been touring politically relevant areas of the United States, holding rallies, and giving speeches that appear to pitch his case to be president over that of his main rival, former President Donald Trump.[7] However, Trump has already gained endorsements from many Florida GOP members of Congress and has been leading in multiple polls.[8]

Critics have accused Florida Republicans of enabling DeSantis’ pursuit of his national ambitions at the expense of Floridians. Florida Democratic chair Nikki Fried said the amendment was “the latest example of Florida Republicans enabling DeSantis’ pursuit of his national ambition as he fails Floridians on the issues that affect them most.” However, supporters of the amendment argue that it is a way to recognize the honor and privilege of running for president and vice president and that DeSantis should be allowed to run for president without having to give up his current position.

0. “Legislature set to remove hurdle to DeSantis WH bid” Lake City Reporter, 26 Apr. 2023, https://www.lakecityreporter.com/regional/legislature-set-remove-hurdle-desantis-wh-bid

1. “Florida Republicans propose amendment to allow DeSantis to run for president without resigning” The Independent, 25 Apr. 2023, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/florida-republicans-ron-desantis-president-b2326735.html

2. “Florida Bill Would Allow DeSantis to Run in 2024 Without Resigning” Newsweek, 25 Apr. 2023, https://www.newsweek.com/florida-bill-would-allow-desantis-run-2024-without-resigning-1796666

3. “Florida Lawmaker Introduces Amendment to Allow DeSantis to Run for President without Resigning” Yahoo Life, 25 Apr. 2023, https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/florida-lawmaker-introduces-amendment-allow-195727438.html

4. “New proposed amendment would change Florida’s resign -to-run law, opening door for DeSantis” ActionNewsJax.com, 25 Apr. 2023, https://www.actionnewsjax.com/news/local/new-proposed-amendment-would-change-floridas-resign-run-law-opening-door-desantis/VU6XBKGGRJFQFF3ZOCG5RS2U7E

5. “Florida Republicans try to change “resign-to-run” law ahead of DeSantis bid” msnNOW, 25 Apr. 2023, https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/other/florida-republicans-try-to-change-resign-to-run-law-ahead-of-desantis-bid/ar-AA1allS1?ocid=Peregrine

6. “DeSantis could run for president without resigning under Florida Senate amendment” Yahoo News, 25 Apr. 2023, https://news.yahoo.com/desantis-could-run-president-without-203734136.html

7. “Florida legislature to consider proposal that would allow DeSantis to launch 2024 bid” Washington Examiner, 25 Apr. 2023, https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/campaigns/florida-legislature-desantis-2024-bid

8. “Florida GOP lawmakers ready move allowing DeSantis to run for president without resigning” POLITICO, 25 Apr. 2023, https://www.politico.com/news/2023/04/25/florida-gop-law-change-desantis-presidential-run-00093773

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