Trump’s top rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis files presidential paperwork

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis smiles as he concludes the State of the State address during a joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives on March 7 in Tallahassee, Fla.

Phil Sears/AP


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Phil Sears/AP


Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis smiles as he concludes the State of the State address during a joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives on March 7 in Tallahassee, Fla.

Phil Sears/AP

The hard-line conservative, culture-warrior Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who ironically saw his political career by defending and channeling former President Donald Trump seemingly decided against challenging him for the GOP presidential nomination Is.

Ahead of the expected announcement on Twitter Space on Wednesday evening, DeSantis took the official step of filing paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to contest the presidential election.

The major campaign committee, “Ron DeSantis for President”, lists DeSantis as a candidate for the presidency in the Republican Party.

DeSantis will appear alongside Twitter executive chairman Elon Musk on Wednesday at an event on the social media platform, where he will formally announce his campaign for the Republican nomination in 2024.

DeSantis’ decision comes after months of speculation, but it didn’t wait for Trump to launch the attacks. Trump and a political action committee supporting him have spent millions of dollars on the Florida governorship, and DeSantis’ polling numbers have plummeted, leaving him in an even deeper hole than he and his allies expected.

Trump appeared vulnerable in the midterm elections, with multiple legal threats and poor showings among Trump-backed candidates. Polls showed a large number of Republicans looking for someone else to be their standard-bearer. And DeSantis was the first name on the lips of many conservatives. But now it is not so.

Trump’s position has improved significantly over the past three months, and if DeSantis is going to beat Trump, he must quickly turn the narrative in his favor with less than nine months until the first early state nominating contest in Iowa.

One thing DeSantis does have, however, is money. he has 90 million dollars left from his re-election bid for governor last year, and a super PAC endorsed him Expected to have a budget of $200 millionHalf of which is being devoted to voter outreach in key early states and some 2,600 regional organizers.

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Not exactly “anti-Trump”

DeSantis’ entry should not be confused with being anti-Trump or as part of a “Never Trump” effort. He has been seen as a more disciplined and calculative version of the former president – even though he credits much of his success to Trump.

Going from Congressman to Governor is not an easy task. DeSantis was greatly helped in the GOP primaries because of his endorsement of Trump — and he initially stuck with Trump to win the governorship.

He even ran an ad that showed him playing and reading to his kids, helping them “build a wall” with blocks of paper and reading from Trump. art of the dealNoting that he loves the part where Trump says, “You’re fired.”

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Trump used this against her, slamming DeSantis for infidelity in a widely run ad.

desantis now say His advertising was “satire,” “tongue in cheek” and “many years ago.”

DeSantis has gained popularity with the GOP base – even others – because of his governorship in Florida.

DeSantis became one of the loudest voices opposing the expert guidance of Dr. Anthony Fauci in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic; He pulled immigrants to stunt in Martha’s Vineyard and other liberal enclaves and cities run by Democrats; And DeSantis has slammed universities, school districts and even Disney over how sexual orientation, gender identity and race are taught in schools.

DeSantis has made the culture wars central to his political identity — and intends to run that way in the GOP primary race for president.

His right-wing, Trumpian tendencies have at times put him at odds with his potential base of Republican supporters, who are the types of Republicans who would be open to voting for anyone other than Trump. Trump is hard to beat, and college-educated and wealthy Republicans tend to go a different route than Trump in the primaries, according to February’s NPR/PBS. newshour/ Marist Pol.

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On foreign policy, DeSantis’ early stance on Ukraine echoed Trump’s, but put him at odds with GOP conservatives. DeSantis dismissed his war with Russia as a “territorial dispute” in which the US should not get involved.

He went back after criticism. He called Russia’s Vladimir Putin a “war criminal”, and added, “It’s just – it’s a messed up situation. But Russia had no right to go to Crimea or leave in February of 2022. And that should be cleared up.”

Wasted a potential opening?

DeSantis’ policies have sparked controversy nationally, but have also raised his profile with conservatives.

This made him a prime choice for Trump at a time when the Trump brand was in trouble.

As Trump’s lies continued about the 2020 presidential election he lost, he faced defeats by endorsed candidates in swing states and competitive districts, as well as countless investigations in several states that gave Republicans pause about the 76-year-old former president. Gave.

February NPR/PBS newshourThe /Marist poll also found that DeSantis was better liked than Trump, especially with GOP-leaning independents.

That was until Trump and his allies launched an attack against DeSantis. There have been countless attacks that have gone unanswered and left DeSantis’ allies wring your hands,

Brutal attacks – ranging from serious attacks related to taxes, Social Security and Medicare, to shallow ones, mocking DeSantis for how he allegedly ate pudding – Showed that Trump is ready to do anything to win.

DeSantis, on the other hand, has not been tested on the national stage and has not yet shown the same ferocity in return.

He has so far only delicately sided with Trump, for example, on abortion rights. After taking credit for Trump’s reversal Roe v. Wade During a CNN town hall, DeSantis bet a position to the right of trump Trump called Florida’s six-week ban “very harsh”.

DeSantis has also been mildly critical of Trump’s legal entanglements and governance style. He implied problematic”underlying conduct” And Said He doesn’t know “what it takes to secretly pay a porn star to keep quiet about some sort of alleged affair.”

Without naming Trump, DeSantis praised his own “no daily drama” approach to being governor.

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Another point that the candidates haven’t made a big issue of is the fact that Trump is constitutionally limited. If he were to win in 2024, he could serve only four more years.

For many conservatives, DeSantis, 44, offers a younger, less chaotic, long-term alternative, but DeSantis himself hasn’t really made that argument clearly yet.

DeSantis is also already trying to counter a narrative that he lacks a certain charm as a candidate. The stories are throwing light on how he is doing retail politics in the initial states.

Unlike Trump, who can make his rallies seem more like a comedy routine for the MAGA base, DeSantis appears more at public events. He can also be prickly, like when he reprimanded students for wearing masks behind his back, accusing them of “Covid theatre”.

a growing sector

DeSantis is now the sixth major GOP candidate to announce his presidential bid. In addition to Trump, also running are: former Florida Gov. Nikki Haley, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and former tech CEO Vivek Ramaswamy.

A half-dozen others are considering joining, including Trump’s former Vice President Mike Pence, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Virginia Governor Glen Youngkin.

There are cautionary tales of GOP candidates who have had rapid rises and falls. During the 2016 Republican primary campaign, for example, Jeb Bush, former Florida governor and political descendant, then-Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and even neurosurgeon Ben Carson had fleeting moments vote up,

In the end, Trump won in a crowded field due to his stronghold on a large portion of the GOP base, most of which he retained.

The same is possible this time as well.

Because Trump has such a solid grip on a vital piece of the GOP pie, the larger the field, the better it will be for Trump if Republican voters other than Trump don’t coalesce around an option.

The crowded field certainly could point to a longer GOP primary if one doesn’t go into the early states.

A lot can change between now and then, as the real campaign is just beginning.

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