What we unofficially knew is finally official. Florida Governor, Ronald “Ron” Dion DeSantis has filed the paperwork with the Election Commission to officialize his candidacy for the 2024 presidential elections. He will now have to face his mentor, Former President Trump, in an official setting and elaborate on the differentiators that set him apart as the potential Republican nominee. Since the midterm elections of 2022, President Trump has been attacking Ron DeSantis while the Florida Governor was not yet a candidate. But we all knew that it was a matter of time after his landslide victory in Florida for his reelection.
DeSantis is set to personally announce his run during Twitter Spaces conversations with Elon Musk at 6 p.m. Eastern Time. The long-anticipated move marks the culmination of years of buzz around DeSantis, whose resistance to Covid-era lockdown rules and willingness to engage in polarizing cultural fights have quickly brought him to national prominence and made him a Republican jewel.
Does it make sense for DeSantis to enter the presidential race? Absolutely! He reached his political ceiling at the state level. There is nothing more he could have done as Governor of Florida. His leadership made Florida one of the most attractive states to live in. Under his gubernatorial leadership, Florida’s unemployment rate continued to decline, dropping to a low of 2.6% in November 2022—the lowest among the nation’s top ten largest states and 1.1% lower than the nation’s. Furthermore, Florida’s labor force grew by 352,000, or 3.4%, over the year, more than double the national labor force growth rate of 1.5% over the same time period. The list of his accomplishments could go on. But the point is that Governor DeSantis can’t go above what he already accomplished. With the national prominence that he gained over the last two years and his landslide victory over the midterm, which consolidated that national prominence, it makes sense for DeSantis to seek the presidency at this point.
Many Trump loyalists deep down don’t deny DeSantis’ political and leadership abilities. But they believe that he should have waited “his turn” in 2028. Had he made that decision instead of running in 2024, he would have been forgotten like the way Chris Christy is now forgotten among the Republican ranks. DeSantis is well aware that facing Trump is perhaps the greatest challenge of his entire political career. Indeed, Trump has already pummeled the Governor with relentless attacks for months. It’s the game of electoral politics; the game of destroying as much as possible the opponent’s credibility. Trump and his allies have assailed DeSantis’s record, his political abilities, and even his personality while amplifying negative news about the Governor.
Trump’s aggression may have paid off. Polls of the potential primary field have shown DeSantis, once Trump’s close competitor, consistently losing ground for months, even as the Governor toured key battlegrounds and racked up policy wins with his state’s GOP-held Legislature. A Quinnipiac University poll released earlier Wednesday underscored the Governor’s slide: Republican and GOP-leaning voters chose Trump over DeSantis by more than a two-to-one margin, 5.6% to 25%, in a matchup of the hypothetical primary field. That result showed Trump extending his gains and DeSantis losing ground from a previous Quinnipiac survey in late March.
Politics; especially electoral politics; is a matter of momentum. While DeSantis may not win the GOP nomination, his involvement in the 2024 election is a beneficial political move for him because it will consolidate his leadership within the Republican Party for the near future. 2024 is mostly likely Trump’s last political run for the presidency. This will then leave a boulevard for DeSantis to become the frontrunner in 2028 if he fails to secure the 2024 GOP nomination. The first Republican primary debate will occur in August. His performance during that debate will determine his fate for the remainder of the primaries.