Last week, Congressman Ron DeSantis jumped into the Florida governor’s race. Making his announcement during an appearance on “Fox & Friends.” The Fox News announcement by DeSantis was not a surprise by anyone in Florida, rather it was only a matter of time before he jumped in.
Signs pointing to a DeSantis gubernatorial run were apparent after President Trump endorsed the Florida Congressman via Twitter by tweeting, “Congressman Ron DeSantis is a brilliant young leader, Yale and then Harvard Law, who would make a GREAT Governor of Florida. He loves our Country and is a true FIGHTER!”
DeSantis has been a yuuge supporter of Trump and during his campaign announcement, he revived the President’s message to drain the swamp — but this time took aim at Tallahassee.
While Trump remains largely unpopular with a majority of the voting public, Republicans still rate him highly. This is one of the biggest reasons why DeSantis is keeping Trump close and carrying the torch of his signature battle cry. In order for DeSantis to have a chance at winning the primaries, he will have to keep Trump’s base energized and engaged.
For fellow Republican primary opponent, Adam Putnam, this could spell trouble. During the 2016 presidential race, the Florida Commission of Agriculture was a little late joining the Trump Train, and now it has the possibility to not only hinder support, but put a hitch in his fundraising abilities.
Trump’s endorsement of DeSantis not only gave him the momentum for a campaign kickoff, but it opened the wallets of some major Republican donors, such as casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and heiress Rebekah Mercer.
For better or worse, Florida is Trump country. With DeSantis receiving the president’s blessing and access to high dollar donors this definitely gives him an edge over fellow Republican primary candidates.
However, Trump’s latest off color comment regarding Haiti and Africa is not sitting well with Americans and could lead to potential issues for DeSantis on the campaign trail. This is not Trump’s first obscene comment, and should this continue, the potential lies to turn off voters or cause them to second guess their support of DeSantis.
As the campaign trail heats up, both Putnam and DeSantis will wrestle for the attention and votes of Florida Republicans. While it is still very early on in the Florida governor’s race, the current match up is close. In a recent poll, DeSantis is trailing Putnam 18 to 23. These polling numbers paint the picture of a highly competitive race.
As the months drag on, it will be interesting to see if the traction DeSantis has gained from national conservative groups continues to pick up momentum or if his ties to Trump hurt his candidacy.
The governor’s race on the Republican ticket has created a party divided, as Putnam is considered a more traditional Republican candidate and DeSantis is viewed as more of a Trump Republican.
The choice will be up to the voters, and if voters learned anything in 2016 it’s that anything is possible.