TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — If the political analysts are right, it’s not a matter of if, but when Governor Ron DeSantis declares his candidacy for the presidency.
On Friday, the governor gave new signs he is about to take a place on the national stage.
Right now, a super PAC supporting DeSantis is airing presidential campaign ads in key primary states, like Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. The committee, called “Never Back Down,” is touting the governor’s blue-collar roots and his experience serving in the Navy, and Iraq.
“Gov. DeSantis never backs down because his backbone wasn’t forged overnight,” one ad says.
On the last day of Florida’s legislative session Friday, DeSantis celebrated some big wins for conservatives. Political analyst Tara Newsom said with the session over, DeSantis will likely launch an exploratory committee, within days.
“He’s going to get this buzz going with this presidential exploratory then he’s going to wait just a hot minute, and then he’s going to hit and then he’s going to run,” Newsom said.
But how will voters outside of Florida react to the governor’s socially conservative agenda?
Abortion banned at six weeks. Permitless carry approved. And then, there’s that dispute with Disney.
Newsom says Desantis’ challenge is to win over primary voters, without alienating the rest of the country, “Because places like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin — they are a different brand of Republicans,” she said.
When and if DeSantis does announce, he will join a GOP primary field with more than half a dozen candidates, including DeSantis’ former mentor, now top rival: Former President Donald Trump.
“I think Pres. Trump is unmatched in history for his ability to take down his opponents,” Newsom said.
“I don’t even think we’ve seen the beginning of how President Trump is going to go after his adversaries, including DeSantis.”
So, how close are we to that formal announcement?
Look at how Gov. DeSantis answered that question on a recent overseas trip.
“I’m not a candidate so we’ll see if and when that changes,” he said.
Now, compare that to what DeSantis said Friday while speaking with reporters in Tallahassee.
“What happens in the future, we’ll get on that relatively soon. I mean, you either got to put up or shut up on that as well so we’ll see.”
“I think Floridians are excited that their governor is on the national stage but I think they’re also worried about whether or not he can split his time in a presidential campaign as well as running the third largest state in the country,” Newsom said.
Whether he can be in two places at once – run the state and the campaign – remains to be seen.
Newsom says, if he succeeds, Gov. DeSantis might be on his way to remaking the Republican party in his image.