Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has achieved nationwide news coverage throughout the COVID-19 pandemic by resisting what he has described as federal government overreach by the Biden administration.
As such, he has been named as a possible GOP presidential contender in 2024 — but he revealed on Monday that he filed the paperwork necessary to launch a bid for re-election as governor next year.
DeSantis enters crowded field
According to Mediaite, his impending gubernatorial campaign is not likely to dampen speculation about a presidential bid. In fact, it might even bolster such a campaign considering the media attention he is sure to receive in the run-up to the midterm race.
As WPTV reported, DeSantis filled out and submitted paperwork on Friday but the announcement was not made public by the Florida Department of Elections until this week.
Including the incumbent, a total of 16 candidates have announced gubernatorial runs in the Florida race. Only one of those candidates — former Democrat John Joseph Mercadante — will be seeking to take him on in the Republican primary.
Of the remaining candidates, 11 are Democrats and three are independents.
His chief Democratic rivals are likely to be former Gov. Charlie Crist, a Republican-turned-independent-turned Democrat, and Nikkie Fried, who currently serves as the state’s agriculture commissioner. He is also facing a challenge from state Sen. Annette Taddeo, who served as Crist’s running mate during his failed 2014 gubernatorial campaign.
“You have to prepare for these things”
The Hill noted that DeSantis made mention of the official filing during an unrelated press conference on Monday during which he also hinted that a formal launch of his re-election campaign would be coming soon.
Although the purpose of his press conference was to announce the legislative agenda for a special session he called for in the state legislature, he confirmed that he completed the paperwork needed for a 2022 campaign.
“It’s more of a formality to open a campaign committee,” he said. “We won’t do any public announcements until after the special session, but you have to prepare for these things.”
While he will face several competitors from across the political spectrum, he appears to already have a dominant position within the field. His political action committee has already built a war chest of about $60 million.
Some in the mainstream media might bemoan the fact that DeSantis also leads any and all competitors in recent polls.