Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Announces Candidacy for 2024 Republican Presidential Primary

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has officially announced his candidacy for the 2024 Republican presidential primary, after months of unofficial campaigning across early-voting states.[0] DeSantis will be making his first official visit to Iowa on Tuesday as a presidential candidate, where he will be trying to prove that he is ready to take on former President Donald Trump and withstand the rigors of a bruising presidential contest.[1] Despite polls showing DeSantis as Trump’s top rival for the nomination, he is jumping into an increasingly crowded field, and his early movements suggest that his political team is preparing for a protracted fight.[2] Following a swing through Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, DeSantis will return to Iowa on Saturday for Sen. Joni Ernst’s Roast and Ride event.[1]

DeSantis appeared in Iowa during two short bursts in his pre-campaign run-up, but his campaign has indicated that it intends to make an aggressive play for Iowa, courting Republicans over the long haul.[1] As DeSantis experiences a growing deficit in the polls against Trump in Iowa and throughout the nation, he visits the state.[3] DeSantis will hold his event on Tuesday at an evangelical church in a Des Moines suburb, a venue that is illustrative of how faith remains an influential force for Republicans, particularly in Iowa, as they choose their nominee.[3] According to a source from the DeSantis campaign, he and his spouse Casey will be holding a meeting with 15 Iowa pastors in preparation for the upcoming event.[2]

DeSantis’ campaign has been making a pitch to Florida-ize the rest of the country, relying on pushing the envelope on the use of executive power.[4] He told radio host Mark Levin that he has studied the Constitution to find new “leverage points” that would allow him to exercise the “true scope” of the presidency.[4] “Presidents have not been willing to wield Article 2 power to discipline the bureaucracy,” DeSantis told Glenn Beck in another interview.[4] “I’ll come in, and on day one, we’ll be spitting nails.”[4] Next to, presumably, a broad-based firing of the federal bureaucracy itself, DeSantis said he would fire FBI director Chris Wray on day one, and made the point to Fox News host Trey Gowdy that his new FBI director and attorney general would not operate independently but more as functionaries of the president.[4] This centralization of power, enabled by acquiescent state courts and the Legislature, is precisely how he’s run Florida.[4]

Opposition to abortion has united Republican candidates for decades with only limited political downside, but since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year, Republicans are realizing they need to hoodwink the general electorate.[5] The state lawmakers have reacted extremely and shockingly to the court’s ruling by implementing strict bans with minimal exceptions.[6] The governor of Florida.[7] Ron DeSantis, who has previously been vocal about his opposition to abortion, is now avoiding the topic as he joins the national race.[6] But it’s important to remember how closely intertwined anti-abortion organizations are with the governor and his allies.[6]

From the viewpoint of a potential presidential nominee, DeSantis has achieved a remarkable feat – he has played a major role in converting Florida, the third most populous state in the country, from a crucial swing state that determined the 2000 presidential election by a meager margin of 537 votes, to the center of conservative America. This transformation took place despite DeSantis himself winning the 2018 election by a narrow 0.4% margin.[8] DeSantis played a major role in bringing about an all-Republican state Cabinet and Republican supermajorities in both state legislative houses, thanks to his impressive 19.4% lead at the top of the ticket in November – the first time this has happened since Reconstruction.[8] The recently concluded Florida legislative session was able to implement the most extensive right-wing agenda ever seen in modern American history, thanks to the impact and triumphs of its supporters.[8] The legislative session accomplished a multitude of successes, too vast to fully enumerate, addressing almost every contentious topic including immigration, abortion, firearms, gender identity, and education.[8]

0. “5 Takeaways From DeSantis’s 2024 Announcement With Elon Musk” New York Magazine, 26 May. 2023, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2023/05/5-takeaways-from-desantiss-2024-announcement-with-elon-musk.html

1. “Spotlight on Ron DeSantis as he launches Iowa presidential campaign” Des Moines Register, 30 May. 2023, https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/2023/05/30/can-ron-desantis-live-up-to-hype-in-iowa-caucuses-2024-trump-alternative/70248457007

2. “DeSantis kicks off 2024 campaign in Iowa” CNN, 30 May. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/05/30/politics/desantis-iowa-2024/index.html

3. “DeSantis, Trump spar over who hates Disney more as Iowa fight begins” Orlando Sentinel, 30 May. 2023, https://www.orlandosentinel.com/2023/05/30/desantis-trump-spar-over-who-hates-disney-more-as-iowa-swing-begins

4. “Ron DeSantis 2024: This guy’s supposed to be the “sane” Republican candidate?” Slate, 27 May. 2023, https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2023/05/the-surge-ron-desantis-trump-tim-scott-gop-presidential-candidates-2024.html

5. “GOP 2024 presidential candidates: DeSantis, others challenge Trump” USA TODAY, 30 May. 2023, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2023/05/30/gop-race-glitches-4-surprises-desantis-trump/70247689007/

6. “Ron DeSantis downplays his abortion record in 2024 campaign launch” MSNBC, 25 May. 2023, https://www.msnbc.com/opinion/msnbc-opinion/ron-desantis-2024-announcement-abortion-rcna86103

7. “Politics Podcast: The Case For And Against Ron DeSantis” FiveThirtyEight, 25 May. 2023, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/politics-podcast-the-case-for-and-against-ron-desantis/

8. “The Case for Ron DeSantis | Opinion” Newsweek, 26 May. 2023, https://www.newsweek.com/case-ron-desantis-opinion-1802754

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