TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Gov. Ron DeSantis has officially entered the presidential race after filing the paperwork necessary to run for president in 2024.
The governor took to Twitter Wednesday evening and said he was “running for president to lead our Great American Comeback.”
The tweet included a campaign ad, in which the governor touted his “war on woke” and Florida’s approach to fighting crime.
“Decline is a choice. Success is attainable. And freedom is worth fighting for,” the governor said in the 1-minute ad. “We chose facts over fear. Education over indoctrination. Law and order over rioting and disorder. We held the line when freedom held in the balance.”
Shortly after the announcement, the governor was set to join Twitter CEO Elon Musk for an audio-only conversation to discuss the campaign launch, but it quickly became marred by technical difficulties.
“There is so much enthusiasm for Governor DeSantis’ vision for our Great American Comeback that he literally busted up the internet. Washington is next,” the governor’s Press Secretary Bryan Griffin said in a statement.
After the event, the governor was scheduled to appear on conservative programs, including Fox News and Mark Levin’s radio show.
The long-awaited announcement comes after DeSantis spent the first half of the year appearing at conservative events and touring the country to promote his book, while fulfilling duties as Florida’s governor.
Born in Jacksonville and raised in Dunedin, the former Navy officer established himself as a political powerhouse in the Sunshine State with his decade-long political career as both a congressman and most recently, a two-term governor.
The governor has been thrust into the national spotlight due to his “war on woke” and his administration’s efforts to help ban abortion after six weeks along with the instruction of sexual orientation and critical race theory in schools. He’s also worked to eliminate, equity, and inclusion centers in public colleges — moves he says will serve as a “blueprint” for the GOP as they prepare for the next election.
However, the governor has lost some support among conservatives due to his feud with Disney, which began when company executives spoke out against HB 1557, the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” legislation, which was expanded, and now bans or restricts classroom instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through 12th grade.
In February, DeSantis signed a bill that gave the state power to take over the park’s self-governing district and picked a board to oversee its governance. The board later said the previous board had stripped them of their powers. Then the lawsuits ensued, and Disney later scrapped plans to build a nearly $1 billion corporate campus in central Florida.
Republicans have reportedly expressed concerns over the damage DeSantis’ feud with the entertainment giant could cause to the party’s reputation as a pro-business entity.
Heading into 2024, DeSantis is up against primary candidates like Nikki Haley and Tim Scott, who announced his run on Monday. But perhaps his biggest political rival is his former ally and former President Donald Trump, whose relationship with the Florida governor quickly soured after the 2022 election.
Trump continues to lead DeSantis in pre-election polls. On May 1, Trump had a massive lead of 36 points over DeSantis in a CBS News-YouGov poll.