Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis coasted to a simple re-election victory over Democratic rival Charlie Crist Tuesday night time, laying down a marker for a possible presidential bid in 2024.
DeSantis was by no means severely threatened by Crist, a former congressman and onetime Republican governor of the Sunshine State.
The 44-year-old DeSantis burnished his conservative credentials and catapulted himself into the nationwide political highlight by turning into a thorn in the facet of the Biden administration along with his opposition to COVID-19 lockdowns, in addition to masks and vaccine mandates.
“You can come to Florida and you can do what you want to do. You’re not going to be forced to show medical papers. You’re not going to be restricted. You’re not going to be mandated,” the governor informed reporters at a information convention this previous February as he welcomed vacationers to the state.
DeSantis additionally harnessed the continuing tradition wars as he elevated his nationwide profile, signing what critics have referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay” regulation in March of this year.
The measure forbids the dialogue of gender identification and sexual orientation for youths in kindergarten by way of third grade. DeSantis stated the regulation lets dad and mom, somewhat than educators, resolve when to discuss to kids about these points.
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“We will make sure that parents can send their kids to school to get an education, not an indoctrination,” he stated on the time.
Backlash to the regulation got here rapidly from LGBTQ teams and from President Biden, who referred to as it “hateful,” however DeSantis appeared to relish his function as an irritant to Democrats.
The governor additionally acquired into a really public spat with the Walt Disney Co. and signed a invoice revoking its self-governing standing when executives on the leisure big vowed to work to repeal the regulation.
And in September, DeSantis shipped two planeloads of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, the well-heeled Democratic trip spot off the Massachusetts coast, as “part of the state’s relocation program to transport illegal immigrants to sanctuary destinations.”
Despite his pugnacious political type, DeSantis put partisanship apart and met with Biden when the president traveled to Florida final month to survey the harm after Hurricane Ian slammed into the southwest a part of the state.
But there have been lingering questions on DeSantis’ ambitions past the Florida governor’s mansion.
In an October debate with Crist, DeSantis dodged whether or not he would serve a full four-year term if elected.
“I know that Charlie is interested in talking about 2024 and Joe Biden, but I just want to make things very, very clear: The only worn-out old donkey I’m looking to put out to pasture is Charlie Crist,” DeSantis stated.
In gentle of DeSantis’ elevated notoriety, former president Donald Trump has just lately gone on the offensive towards the potential 2024 foe.
At the top of October, the previous president posted a clip of Megyn Kelly pooh-poohing DeSantis’ probabilities of beating Trump in 2024.
“I AGREE!,” Trump wrote emphatically on his Truth Social platform.