Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Announces His 2024 Presidential Campaign

On Wednesday, DeSantis filed paperwork to run for President, after many people suspected that he would be gearing up for a 2024 campaign.

By Gina Florio3 min read
Getty/Scott Olson

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a leading figure in the Republican party, formally launched his presidential campaign on Wednesday, promising to "lead our great American comeback." In a campaign video released, DeSantis criticized current federal policy, saying, "Our border is a disaster. Crime infests our cities. The federal government makes it harder for families to make ends meet. And the president flounders."

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Announces His 2024 Presidential Campaign

The governor's presidential announcement came amid much anticipation. DeSantis essentially broke Twitter when he released his launch video and announced his presidential campaign to 30,000 live viewers. He tried to work through the technical mishap of a glitchy audio stream. “American decline is not inevitable — it is a choice. And we should choose a new direction — a path that will lead to American revitalization. I am running for president of the United States to lead our great American comeback,” he said.

Just hours before, DeSantis filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), officially triggering his presidential campaign. This move coincides with DeSantis's meeting this week with top financial backers. The FEC filing allows him to directly solicit contributions from these donors and bundlers.

Early polls show DeSantis trailing former President Donald Trump by a sizable margin, but he remains far ahead of other contenders. Despite this, the Florida governor's campaign is off to a strong start. He boasts an impressive amount of funding—$110 million, a record-breaking amount amassed during his 2022 gubernatorial reelection campaign. Much of these funds will likely be transferred to Never Back Down, a super PAC backing DeSantis that aims to spend up to $200 million on his campaign. DeSantis' presidential bid comes after Florida passed a law that alters the state’s "Resign to Run" rule. DeSantis will now no longer need to resign as governor to run for president legally.

Notably, DeSantis made no mention of Trump during his hour-long conversation with Twitter CEO Elon Musk. Instead, he expressed his readiness to disrupt the status quo. “Buckle up when I get in there, because the status quo is not acceptable,” he declared.

Ron DeSantis, the two-term Florida governor, has seen his political career catapult to national prominence in recent years. His popularity has been particularly potent because of commitment to push back against progressive cultural issues such as LGBT activism, especially when it comes to children. This has led to numerous policy victories that have endeared him to his conservative base. Among them are strict abortion laws, enhanced gun rights, and education reforms, all contributing to a unique political brand that has skyrocketed his popularity among Florida's Republicans.

One of the governor's major achievements has been the passage of stringent abortion laws. DeSantis signed a bill banning abortions at six weeks, a move that resonated with his constituents who advocate for pro-life policies. While this action has been controversial, it highlights his commitment to a core conservative principle, earning him praise from his supporters. DeSantis has also championed Second Amendment rights. Under his administration, Florida residents can now carry concealed firearms without a permit. His support for gun rights has cemented his position as a defender of constitutional freedoms, a stance highly appreciated by conservative voters.

Education has been another significant area of focus for DeSantis. His signing of the Parental Rights in Education bill, known by critics as the "Don’t Say Gay" law, bans instruction or discussion of LGBTQ+ issues in Florida public schools. Although divisive, this measure resonates with citizens who feel that parents should have more control over their children's education and believe kids don't need to be exposed to such ideologies at such a young age. These victories, DeSantis argues, have "transformed" Florida into "the nation’s leading red state," and serve as a roadmap for the nation.

Additionally, his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was seen by supporters as balanced and pragmatic, with a focus on keeping the state's economy open while ensuring public health. Furthermore, DeSantis's relationship with the media has struck a chord with his base. Emulating Trump's confrontational approach, he often bypasses traditional media outlets, opting to communicate directly with his constituents. This strategy has been seen as a refreshing change from standard political communication. However, his critics on the right claim that he is too young for a successful presidency and also comes off as too boring to appeal to voters the same way that Trump did. Time will tell if his popularity is enough to get him the Republican nomination.

Trump, known for his aggressive attacks against political rivals, has been taking jabs at DeSantis, dubbing him "Ron DeSanctimonious" and "DeSanctus." In response to DeSantis's announcement, a top Trump adviser told Fox News, "announcing on Twitter is perfect for Ron DeSantis. This way he doesn’t have to interact with people and the media can’t ask him any questions."

DeSantis enters a presidential field that includes former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy. Former Vice President Mike Pence is also expected to join the race.