What you need to know about Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is running for president

After waiting for months Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is expected to formally enter the Republican presidential primary contest on Wednesday.

For now, he’s seen as former President Donald Trump’s strongest Republican rival in a hotly contested 2024 election, but many voters are just getting to know the 44-year-old governor.

Here are five things to know about the Republican Party’s newest presidential candidate, DeSantis.

Childhood of DeSantis

A Florida native with Midwestern family roots, DeSantis was an outstanding baseball player in his youth. He represented a team from Dunedin, Florida in his series of the 1991 Little League Worlds before becoming captain of the Yale University team.

After teaching briefly in high school, he attended Harvard Law School. He then became a Naval Judge Advocate, a post that took him to Iraq and Guantánamo Bay.

DeSantis ran for Congress in 2012, winning the Orlando-area constituency and becoming a founding member of the far-right Freedom Caucus in the Capitol. Like many conservatives in Congress at the time, he pushed for changes to Medicare and Social Security, including raising his retirement age to 70.

After serving three terms in Congress, he launched what was seen as a long-running candidacy for governor in 2018. He won that race by less than 1 percent, securing a crushing re-election last fall.

anti-awakening warrior

Perhaps more than any Republican official in the country, Mr. DeSantis has fought and enacted policies that: exacerbate the country’s cultural divisions. He calls it a battle with the “awakened ones.”

just him closed parliament This established him as perhaps the most aggressive and effective conservative governor in the country’s bitter culture wars.

He signed into law and expanded what is known by critics as the Parents’ Rights in Education bill. ‘Don’t say gay’ laws, bans teaching and classroom discussion of LGBTQ issues in public schools in Florida for all grades. He also signed a law prohibiting state and federal funding for diversity, equity, and inclusion programs at state universities.

This spring, she signed a law banning abortion six weeks before most women realize they are pregnant. He single-handedly fired elected prosecutors who had vowed not to prosecute people or doctors providing gender-positive care under Florida’s new abortion regulations.

Mr. DeSantis also enacted a law this spring that allows Florida residents to carry concealed guns without a permit. He pushed for new measures that experts warned would weaken press freedom. He also took control of liberal arts colleges, which he believed were instilling left-wing ideologies in their students.

Battle of DeSantis and Disney

DeSantis is willing to fight whoever or whatever gets in his way.

There can be no better example than this Feud with Florida-based entertainment giant Disneyone of his state’s largest employers.

The battle began last year when Disney came under tremendous internal and external pressure to publicly oppose the “Don’t Say You’re Gay” law. In retaliation, DeSantis took over Disney World’s boroughs through a bill passed by Florida legislators and appointed a new oversight board to oversee city services to the sprawling theme parks and hotels.

Mr. DeSantis threatened to build a state prison on the park grounds.

The controversy has drawn criticism from business leaders and Republican opponents, who say the move runs counter to small government conservatism.

Disney has filed a lawsuit against the DeSantis administration, and Mr. DeSantis’ legal battle is likely to continue until the 2024 presidential election. Amid the fray, Disney announced last week: scrap the plan It planned to build a new campus in central Florida and employ 2,000 people.

Is DeSantis a more likely Trump of choice?

DeSantis’ allies say he has a better chance of winning than Trump in the general election.

Just six months ago, DeSantis won re-election by a 19 percentage point margin in Florida as Republicans in other states struggled. His victory marked the largest margin of victory in a Florida gubernatorial race in decades. He also won in Miami-Dade County, a longtime Democratic home to voters of color.

Of course, it’s unclear if that success translates to the national stage. Voters often view gubernatorial elections differently than federal elections. Still, Mr. DeSantis’ team intends to highlight the potential of the election in a stark contrast to Mr. Trump, who has faced multiple legal threats and lost three consecutive national elections for Republicans. suggesting.

DeSantis’ ultra-political action committee recently handed out leaflets to primary voters describing him as a “conservative leader who fights and wins.”

Still, his ability to connect with both voters and party leaders on a personal level is questionable.

Largely for that reason, most Republican congressional delegations in Florida already endorse Trump over DeSantis. In recent weeks, a number of anecdotes have also surfaced revealing how much Mr. DeSantis has neglected fellow Republicans in Florida and elsewhere throughout his political career.

He has also struggled to maintain a close network with senior staff. To this day, his wife, former television news journalist Casey DeSantis, is considered his chief political adviser.

While Mr. DeSantis is well liked by voters, he sometimes struggles to display the campaign charisma and agility that characterize successful candidates at the national level. While he has done everything he can to avoid unscripted public appearances and media scrutiny during his governorship, it’s difficult, if not impossible, for a presidential candidate.

How Trump and DeSantis turned from allies to rivals

DeSantis and Trump may have had a toxic relationship, but that hasn’t always been the case.

DeSantis admits he wouldn’t have been governor of Florida without Trump’s endorsement in 2018. DeSantis also incorporates Trump’s fiery personality, populist policies, and even some of his rhetoric and quirks.

But in recent months, Mr. Trump has focused almost exclusively on undermining the political appeal of the governor of Florida. That’s largely because Mr. Trump and his team believe Mr. DeSantis may be the only legitimate threat to the Republican nomination.

From Trump’s perspective, nothing is off limits.

President Trump has called DeSantis derisive nicknames such as “Ron DeSanctimonias” and “Meatball Ron”, and during the rally, Trump questioned DeSantis’ loyalty and charged a fee. Advertisements and social media posts also target Mr. DeSantis’ record on social media. Security and Medicare.

He also criticized DeSantis’ sexuality while sharing social media posts suggesting that he behaved inappropriately toward underage students when he briefly taught at a high school in his early 20s. questioned.

DeSantis was slow to defend Trump after he was indicted earlier this spring by New York prosecutors. At the time, Mr. DeSantis said only that he didn’t know “what it would mean to pay a porn star to keep quiet about certain types of affair allegations.” Most recently, it has pursued President Trump’s record on abortion.

https://www.wtxl.com/media/v/content/eda0e666c92e071645c6f43add3fbf59 What you need to know about Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is running for president

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