Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is expected to file the necessary paperwork to make his run for presidency official as soon as next week. During the 2022 Florida Governor race, DeSantis set the gubernatorial fundraising record by raising more than $110 million last cycle alone. Although he is yet to formally declare his candidacy, DeSantis has been speaking at conservative events and rallies across the country in states like Iowa, New Hampshire, and New York. DeSantis is expected to champion his brand of conservatism that has projected him to popularity and allowed the governor to enjoy a successful and popular tenure with the state of Florida.
By Paul Steinhauser; May 18, 2023
After months of buildup and speculation, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida is expected to officially enter the 2024 White House race next week.
The popular two-term conservative governor will file formal paperwork with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) next week to declare his candidacy for president, sources familiar with the governor’s decision confirm to Fox News. The news was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
The filing by DeSantis will coincide with his meeting next week in Miami, Florida with top financial backers, one source told Fox Digital. By law, DeSantis cannot receive or ask for contributions for a presidential campaign unless he has formally declared his candidacy.
By filing with the FEC, DeSantis would be free to solicit donations from donors at the gathering in Miami, which would set in motion a likely fundraising blitz.
DeSantis set a gubernatorial fundraising record last cycle, and had $110 million cash on hand in his fundraising committees at the start of the spring. Much of that money could likely be transferred to Never Back Down, a super PAC backing the expected DeSantis presidential campaign.
A formal campaign kick-off event will likely take place sometime after next week’s donor gathering, but no details have been shared by the campaign.
DeSantis has made a series of moves in recent days indicating that a campaign launch would be imminent.
Among them was the move Monday by DeSantis’ political team from the Republican Party of Florida headquarters — where it has been housed following last November’s gubernatorial election — to new offices.
Additionally, a further signal was the move by the governor last week to sever ties with Friends of Ron DeSantis, his longtime political state committee, in order to comply with federal campaign finance regulations.
While the popular two-term conservative governor remains on the 2024 sidelines, he said last week that he will decide “relatively soon” whether he will launch a 2024 GOP presidential campaign. During stops in Iowa, whose caucuses lead off the GOP presidential nominating calendar, DeSantis was asked whether a 2024 announcement was near. “No news yet,” DeSantis said.
However, the governor’s multiple stops in the early voting presidential primary and caucus states since March, along with his expanding of his political team in Tallahassee, were clear signs that DeSantis was moving toward a 2024 presidential campaign launch.
As Fox News first reported this week, DeSantis will return on Friday to New Hampshire, which holds the first primary and second overall contest in the GOP nominating calendar.
Republican primary polling indicates DeSantis is the top rival to former President Donald Trump — who is making his third straight White House run. The governor is firmly in second place in the surveys behind Trump, but well ahead of the rest of the pack of actual and likely GOP White House contenders.
Trump has repeatedly attacked DeSantis in recent months, but the governor to date has mostly refrained from returning fire.
Florida’s governor, who saw his popularity soar among conservatives across the country over the past three years due to his forceful pushback against coronavirus pandemic restrictions and his aggressive actions as a culture warrior going after media, corporations and teachers unions, won an overwhelming 19-point re-election victory in November.
DeSantis has showcased that his wins as governor have “transformed” Florida from a top general election battleground “into the nation’s leading red state,” and that his policy victories in Florida can serve as a roadmap for the entire nation.
The 44-year-old governor racked up a slew of conservative policy victories – including a controversial six-week abortion ban, tougher immigration laws, restrictions on gender and diversity instruction in schools, and green-lighting the ability to carry a concealed weapon without a permit – during Florida’s just concluded legislative session, courtesy of a GOP super majority in Tallahassee.
The governor has traveled across the country in recent months, highlighting his “Florida blueprint” and promoting his newly released book, “The Courage to Be Free.”
He’ll join a field that includes Trump, the current clear front-runner, as well as former ambassador and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
Among the other candidates in the race are multi-millionaire entrepreneur, best-selling author and conservative commentator Vivek Ramaswamy, who announced his bid in February, Michigan businessman and 2022 gubernatorial candidate Perry Johnson, and conservative radio talk show host and former California gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder, who declared his candidacy recently.
Former Vice President Mike Pence is expected to declare his candidacy in the coming weeks, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie – who ran for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination – and Govs. Doug Burgum of North Dakota and Chris Sununu of New Hampshire are also seriously mulling White House runs.