TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis’s national profile is growing as he takes on Big Tech, critical race theory, transgender athletes, the rights of protestors and voting rights.
At the same time, speculation is growing he will make a run for the presidency in 2024. But he must first get re-elected in Florida next year.
When DeSantis walked into a South Florida Jewish community center Monday to sign two bills Monday, he was greeted like a rock star.
“Governor and future world leader,” Rabbi Sholom D. Lipskar said as he introduced DeSantis.
As a Republican, DeSantis has made political inroads with the Jewish community. During a trade mission to Israel in 2019, he was asked if he would run for president.
“Certainly not in 2020. You can guarantee that,” DeSantis said.
This year, he’s pleasing the Republican base at home and across the country that makes people think he has aspirations beyond the governor’s mansion.
Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried, one of two Democrats who are mounting campaigns to unseat DeSantis as governor next year, is convinced.
“In 2024, he is running for president,” Fried said.
Fried is telling voters to choose her because DeSantis will spend the first two years of a second term running for president.
“He’ll be running around the country trying to get the nomination and then, if he were to be successful, he’d be leaving halfway through his four-year term, so not a single day he would be serving as governor in the second term,” Fried said.
If the governor were to seek the presidency, he’d have to submit his resignation, effective the date of the November 2024 election.
DeSantis will only confirm he is running for re-election. He has amassed a $40 million war chest. Expectations are that the winning 2022 Florida gubernatorial candidate will spend at least $100 million and perhaps as much as $150 million.
“Probably everywhere I go, I get people who have all these ideas and some people can say what they want, but we’ve got a lot to do here, so that is the focus that I have,” DeSantis said.
Any plans the governor or other Republicans have for seeking the presidency will remain in limbo until former President Donald Trump makes his final decision.