ORLANDO, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to launch his presidential campaign as early as Wednesday, according to CBS News, first with a “virtual” announcement followed days later by an appearance in DeSantis’s hometown of Dunedin.
“We’ve never had a Floridian elected president in our almost 200 years as a state,” said UCF history professor and News 6 political analyst Dr. Jim Clark. “So this gives Floridians a chance maybe to send a Floridian to the White House.”
Before that can happen, Clark said DeSantis will have to explain to voters why he’s better suited for the job than former president Donald Trump, who is widely considered the Republican frontrunner.
“I think he is going to step up the volume,” said Clark. “The problem has always been that if you fire a single shot at President Trump, he comes back with a nuclear bomb.”
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DeSantis will join an increasingly crowded field of Republican presidential hopefuls including South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, who announced his candidacy Monday.
Trump responded to Scott’s entry into the race by wishing him luck and taking a swipe at DeSantis.
“Tim is a big step up from Ron DeSanctimonious, who is totally unelectable,” Trump posted on his social media platform, Truth Social.
DeSantis visited New Hampshire on Friday, home to the first Republican primary, where he was captured on video doing what presidential candidates typically do in that state: shaking voters’ hands and kissing a baby.
“We had a huge problem during COVID with some of the rot in these public health bureaucracies,” DeSantis said during an appearance in Manchester. “They believed in telling noble lies so that you would behave the way they wanted you to behave.”
While DeSantis’s presidential campaign will likely highlight his efforts to quickly re-open Florida during the pandemic, Clark said the governor will have to show voters he can still get things done without the help of Florida’s Republican-controlled legislature.
“The Democrats had absolutely no voice whatsoever. They couldn’t get anything done. They couldn’t stop anything,” said Clark. “And in Washington, that’s not going to be the case. And so what we’re going to see is whether a President DeSantis perhaps could work with other people.”
The GOP-controlled state legislature recently passed a bill that will exempt the governor from an existing Florida law requiring elected officials to resign if they seek another elected office with overlapping terms.
DeSantis has not yet signed the bill, which would repeal the “resign-to-run” requirement immediately upon his signature.
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