TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Former President Barack Obama’s use of social media transformed political campaigns and how candidates connect with voters. Former President Donald Trump put his own spin on Twitter, using the platform to attack his rivals and bypass traditional news outlets.
Now, Gov. Ron DeSantis is hoping his non-traditional way of announcing his candidacy will jumpstart his run for the White House.
DeSantis is set to announce his presidential candidacy during a Twitter Spaces discussion Wednesday evening with Elon Musk.
“It’s basically a virtual town hall if you’re doing it right,” said Christian Ziegler, the chairman of the Florida Republican Party.
Ziegler said the Twitter Spaces platform will allow DeSantis to reach GOP voters directly on their phones.
“You have the ability to go directly to the people,” he said. “I think anytime you can do that is a winner.”
Ziegler said under the leadership of tech billionaire Musk, the social media platform has become more friendly to conservative content.
“There are a lot of users on Twitter,” Ziegler said. “I think Elon Musk is trying to revive the social network from what it was in the past, which was a lot of censoring of conservatives. Now, he’s trying to rebrand it and turn it around.”
While University of South Florida professor of political communication Joshua Scacco said Florida’s governor is seeking a memorable moment, some potential supporters may miss his highly-anticipated announcement.
“There could be potential for a large audience,” Scacco said. “There could be potential for some impediments because of the Twitter platform. Because of the opt in function of the Twitter platform, that might make it difficult for some people who support the governor to tune in.”
Democratic strategist Keith Edwards said he would not recommend launching a campaign on Twitter Spaces, even though he said it is an effective tool for candidates to discuss issues and update voters.
“For DeSantis to use his campaign launch for president, which you only get one off, you only get to launch once, on a non-visual medium, one in which that’s going to be unscripted, which I don’t think is to his strength, he usually loves to have a script and be bombastic in front of cameras, it feels like a really big miss to me.”
Ziegler told News Channel 8 the Florida GOP will not endorse a candidate during the primary. He said his focus is making sure the party is unified for the general election in 2024.
WFLA Now will have live coverage of DeSantis’ announcement ahead of the event, which will start at 6 p.m. ET. Once it begins, you can watch our coverage live in this article or on the WFLA Facebook page.
Otherwise, you will need to have a Twitter account to join the conversation. More information will be available on either DeSantis’ or Musk’s Twitter pages.