Florida Govt. Ron DeSantis launches 2024 presidential campaign to challenge Trump – Times of India

MIAMI: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis entered the 2024 presidential race on Wednesday, stepping into a crowded Republican primary contest that will test both his national appeal as a cultural conservative firebrand and the GOP’s willingness to move on from former President Donald Trump Will do
The 44-year-old Republican revealed his decision in a Federal Election Commission filing ahead of an online conversation with Twitter CEO Elon Musk.
It’s a new chapter in his extraordinary rise from little-known congressman to two-term governor as a key figure in the nation’s bitter feuds over race, gender, abortion and other divisive issues. DeSantis is considered Trump’s strongest Republican opponent even as he faces questions about his readiness for governor National stage.
DeSantis’ audio-only announcement was to be streamed on Twitter Space beginning at 6 p.m. EDT. He followed that up with prime-time appearances on conservative programs including Fox News and Mark Levin’s radio show.
DeSantis’ entry into the Republican field has been discussed for months and he is considered one of the party’s strongest candidates in its quest to recapture the White House from Democratic President Joe Biden. Republicans say the 80-year-old incumbent has left the country too far behind by failing to address inflation, immigration and crime.
The Republican nominee will face Biden on the November 2024 general election ballot.
DeSantis began his campaign with Trump in the top tier of the two, based on early public polling, fundraising and campaign infrastructure.
The two GOP powerhouses have a lot in common.
DeSantis, who likely could not have become governor of Florida without Trump’s support, has adopted the former president’s fiery persona, his populist policies, and even some of his rhetoric and mannerisms.
Yet DeSantis has one thing Trump doesn’t: a credible claim that he could be more elected in a general election than Trump, who faces multiple legal threats and has won Republicans in three consecutive national polls. Defeat presides.
DeSantis, just six months earlier, won his re-election in Florida by an astonishing 19 percentage points – even as Republicans struggled in several other states. He also scored several major policy victories during the spring session of the Republican-controlled Legislature.
Aware of DeSantis’ draw, Trump has been focused on undermining DeSantis’ political appeal for months. Trump and his team believe that DeSantis may be Trump’s only legitimate threat to the nomination.
Trump’s kitchen-sink attacks and nicknames won’t be the only obstacles for DeSantis.
DeSantis may be a political heavyweight in Florida and a regular on Fox News, but aides acknowledge that most primary voters in other states do not know him well.
A native of Florida with family roots in the Midwest, DeSantis studied at Yale University, where he played baseball. He went on to Harvard Law School and became a Naval Judge Advocate General officer, a position that took him to Iraq and the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.
He ran for Congress in 2012 and won an Orlando-area district, becoming a founding member of the far-right Freedom Caucus on Capitol Hill.
Despite his lengthy resume, friends and foes alike note that DeSantis struggles to display the campaign-trail charisma and quick-on-his-feet that often define successful candidates on a national level. As a presidential contender, he has gone to great lengths to avoid public appearances and media scrutiny, which is difficult, if not impossible, as governor.
Potential supporters are also concerned that DeSantis has refused to invest in party leaders or relationships with fellow elected officials, raising questions about his ability to build the coalition he will ultimately need to defeat Trump. In contrast, the more charismatic Trump has already amassed an army of support in key states including Florida.
Beyond the primary, DeSantis’ biggest long-term challenge may rest with the far-right policies he implemented as governor as an unappreciated leader, what he calls his “woke” war.
Florida’s governor sent dozens of immigrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard off the Massachusetts coast to draw attention to the influx of Latin American migrants trying to cross the US-Mexico border. He signed and then expanded the Parental Rights in Education bill—known by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” law—which bans instruction or classroom discussion of LGBTQ issues in Florida public schools for all grades. Puts
Most recently, he signed a law banning abortion at six weeks, which is before most women even realize they’re pregnant. And he single-handedly removed an elected prosecutor who vowed not to charge people under Florida’s new abortion restrictions or doctors who provide gender-affirming care.
DeSantis also signed a law this year allowing Florida residents to carry a concealed firearm without a permit. He pushed forward new measures that experts warned would undermine press freedom. He also took control of a liberal arts college, which he believed was indoctrinating students with leftist ideologies.
However, the governor’s highest-profile political fight has come against beloved Florida-based entertainment giant Disney, which publicly opposed his “Don’t Say Gay” law. In retaliation, DeSantis seized control of Disney World’s governing body and installed loyalists, threatening to take over the park plan, among other extravagant measures.
DeSantis himself has threatened to build a state prison on the park property.
The controversy has drawn condemnation from business leaders and their Republican rivals, who said the moves are at odds with small-government conservatism.
DeSantis delayed his announcement until the end of Florida’s legislative session. But for most of the year, he’s been wooing primary voters in key states and using an ally super political action committee to build a massive political organization that’s essentially a campaign in waiting and already underway. Claims at least $30 million in the bank.
He joins a field that already includes: Trump; Nikki Haley, former ambassador to the United Nations; South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott; former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson; and biotech entrepreneurs Vivek Ramaswamy, former vice president mike pence Also considered a possible presidential candidate but has not yet announced a bid.
Perhaps more than any of his rivals except Trump, DeSantis is prepared to hit the ground running for months-long efforts by super PACs to set up campaign infrastructure in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, which Will host the first four tournaments. early next year on the GOP’s primary calendar.
The super PAC established more than 30 Students for DeSantis chapters in at least 18 states.