Florida Republicans’ governor, Ron DeSantis, is meticulously building a global network of supporters amid rumors that he may run for president in 2024, even though he has always denied having any aspirations for office outside of his own state.
For his reelection campaign, the emerging Republican star has raised more than $100 million, an amount more akin to that of serious presidential contenders than a gubernatorial candidate. Florida Republicans’ governor has visited fundraisers in many places, talked with donors in South Carolina, and campaigned for Republican Senate candidate Adam Laxalt in Nevada.
Florida Republicans Are Expanding Their Network Outside Florida
But DeSantis has also taken pains to eschew many of the actions characteristic of someone considering a bid for president.
DeSantis has not yet visited early primary and caucus states like New Hampshire or Iowa, nor has he commented substantially on midterm elections outside of his home state, in contrast to other potential contenders like Nikki Haley or Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.).
By running oppositional campaigns against topics like critical race theory, dozens of political committees with links to Florida conservatives are funding politicians who share Gov. Ron DeSantis’ agenda. DeSantis sponsored a group of 10 candidates for school boards, a remarkable, if not unprecedented, action for a Florida governor that might help Republicans win more support from parents during the midterm elections by igniting divisive issues like concealing children during the epidemic.
Florida’s school board elections are often nonpartisan, uninteresting down-ballot contests. Democrats have not demonstrated financing at comparable levels. Florida Republicans may be able to use this strategy to take control of almost every branch of state government, including the state legislature, the governor’s office, the Cabinet, and local school boards. Florida Republicans are contributing to other candidates who have already received DeSantis’ endorsement or may do so shortly.