DeSantis leaks plans to run for President
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) has quietly leaked plans to run for President in 2024, and skip the usual exploratory committee.
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) has quietly leaked plans to run for President in 2024 – without forming an exploratory committee.
Gov. DeSantis lays the groundwork
The leaks have percolated from legacy to alternative media for five days. First to report was ABC News, who quoted a time-honored device: anonymous sources. ABC quotes these sources as saying DeSantis might skip the usual opening gambit of forming and registering an exploratory committee. The likely reason for that is that an exploratory committee would take up time he does not have. Instead he will launch a full Presidential campaign, likely in June.
The first Republican primary debate will take place in a few months. The Florida governor has already begun to prepare for it. Trump might skip one or both of the first two debates – and DeSantis will prepare for any such scenario. He knows that he and Trump must face off eventually.
That, according to one anonymous “former adviser,” is precisely the problem. As ABC quotes him:
Ron always had a problem with letting attacks get to him and getting visibly shaken by them. Not sure how that would play with Trump standing across from him.
One person who did speak for full attribution is Heather Beaven, who in 2012 faced off against DeSantis in a congressional race. DeSantis won that race, but not without betraying the weakness of which that former adviser spoke. According to her, he rehearses scrupulously and comes to the stage knowing what he’s talking about. But when someone challenges him, “he goes right to anger,” as if saying, “You have no right to question me.”
Craig Miller, the Republican who lost to DeSantis in the 2012 Congressional primary, would support him today. “He was a good opponent,” he said.
What he’s done up to now
Florida’s legislature this year carved out an explicit exception to its Resign to Run law for Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates. That exception has been on-again, off-again in years past, though some insist it has always existed. Allegedly it depends on what the definition of the verb to qualify is.
Beyond that, Gov. DeSantis has labored hard to create a record on social issues and on immigration. He signed Florida’s first anti-grooming bill, then expanded its reach. When The Walt Disney Company’s executive echelon protested, the governor pursued revocation of the “special district” where Disney World stands. That last has erupted into a full-blown legal war, with many observers saying Disney is playing into the governor’s hands. Disney’s hand-picked Board of Supervisors for the Reedy Creek Improvement District signed back all their governing powers to Disney. DeSantis pushed back – hard – and then Disney CEO Bob Iger admitted what everyone knows. Which is that Reedy Creek is a glove, and Disney is the hand inside the glove. Disney then brazenly sued DeSantis himself in federal court alleging abridgment of its freedom of speech. Influencers like Andrew Esquire, a/k/a Legal Mindset, say they can’t believe Disney’s folly – or DeSantis’ skill, luck, or both.
Apart from this, the governor recently signed a “permitless carry” law in Florida. DeSantis once hinted at replacing the College Board’s SAT with the new Classic Learning Test. He also said, in a questionnaire from Tucker Carlson, that defending Ukraine is not a vital American foreign policy interest.
But many have questioned his effectiveness or even asked whether he is putting on a dog-and-pony show. His Stop-WOKE Law remains blocked in some Florida colleges who are trying to sue it away. He’s had donors suggest he ought to “wait until 2028.” Sixteen donors told him precisely that at a recent meeting.
When Donald Trump appeared for arraignment in a New York court on charges of campaign finance violations, DeSantis kept silent. Laura Loomer, among others, noticed. She ran for Congress in Florida’s Eleventh District and lost that primary under suspicious circumstances. To this day she blames DeSantis for paying not much more than lip service to election integrity. In fact, other election integrity activists say Florida still has big problems, years after the governor created a special “elections police.”
Trump has run consistently ahead of DeSantis in head-to-head and over-the-field polling. DeSantis has run second – a distant second, but still significantly ahead of all others in the field. Still, in one over-the-field poll, Trump scored the support of a majority of the sample, making him the runaway favorite.
Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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