DeSantis expected to enter 2024 presidential race next week

May 19, 2023, 6:00 AM

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is is expected to enter the 2024 presidential race next week. Photo credi...

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is is expected to enter the 2024 presidential race next week. Photo credit: Eze Amos/The New York Times/Redux

(CNN) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to enter the 2024 GOP presidential race next week, two Republicans familiar with the matter told CNN, initiating his much-anticipated bid to wrestle the future of the party from former President Donald Trump.

DeSantis will file paperwork declaring his candidacy next week with the Federal Election Commission, one Republican said, with a formal announcement expected the following week in his Florida hometown of Dunedin. DeSantis is likely to soft-launch the campaign as early as Wednesday to coincide with the filing of the paperwork, according to a Republican consultant close to the governor’s political team.

However, another source cautioned that the planning remains a moving target, and DeSantis is known to surprise even his closest allies and advisers with last-minute changes. DeSantis, who often boasts that he runs an operation free of leaks, may be further motivated to throw out the script to vex the media outlets who have preempted his announcement, the source said.

“With him, it’s always a possibility,” the source added.

But the machinery for a launch is already in motion as dozens of his top fundraisers and donors have been summoned to South Florida under the assumption they will be asked to begin building up a war chest for a DeSantis presidential campaign. By officially submitting his paperwork, his supporters can begin soliciting donations on his behalf.

About 100 hotel rooms have been reserved at the Four Seasons in Miami, which will host receptions for donors, briefings with DeSantis’ political team and sessions where attendees will dial for dollars, according to two sources familiar with the details. The goal is for each fundraiser to bring in between $100,000 and $150,000.

A spokesman for DeSantis’ political operation did not respond to a request for comment.

An announcement around the Memorial Day weekend is on the earlier side of the timeline that the governor’s political operation had targeted six months ago when it eyed a launch after Florida’s legislative session. This suggests DeSantis is responding to donors and supporters anxious to see him get in the race and more directly challenge Trump. Polling shows the former president remains firmly in the lead while DeSantis has lost some momentum during the belabored rollout of his expected campaign, which has included a book release and tour, a dozen appearances at local GOP fundraisers, an international trip, the creation of a super PAC, a donor retreat near Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort and a blitz through conservative media.

Along the way, DeSantis has stumbled at times, drawing poor reviews for his oscillating takes on the Russia-Ukraine war, prolonging his clash with Disney into a second year and getting caught flat-footed as Trump unveiled endorsements from Florida Republicans in Congress just before the governor visited Washington to build support.

However, DeSantis’ allies believe the trajectory of the race will change significantly once he is officially a candidate and responds to Trump’s broadsides and more vigorously shares his vision for the country.

According to The New York Times, DeSantis told donors and supporters during a call Thursday that there were only three credible candidates in the race – himself, President Joe Biden and Trump – and that only he and Biden had a chance of winning the general election.

DeSantis said on the call, which was organized by Never Back Down, a super PAC closely aligned with the governor, that data from swing states was “not great for the former president and probably insurmountable because people aren’t going to change their view of him,” the Times reported.

DeSantis has spent the last couple of weeks tying up loose ends – rapidly signing dozens of bills that have reached his desk, meeting with donors in Tallahassee and South Florida, and shoring up endorsements to boost his launch. He spent Saturday in Iowa, where he appeared to one-up Trump, making an unannounced visit to a BBQ joint in Des Moines – minutes from where the former president had canceled a rally due to threat of weather. While in the state, DeSantis laid the framework for his case against Trump.

“If we make 2024 a referendum on Joe Biden and his failures and we provide a positive alternative for the future of this country, Republicans will win across the board,” DeSantis told Iowa caucus voters in Sioux Center. “If we do not do that, if we get distracted, if we focus on the election in the past or on other side issues, then I think the Democrats are going to beat us again, and I think it will be very difficult to recover from that defeat.”

On Friday, DeSantis will travel to another early nominating state, New Hampshire, to meet with state lawmakers – many of whom endorsed him earlier this week – for a policy round table, according to three sources familiar with the planning.

Never Back Down has in recent weeks rolled out dozens of key endorsements for the governor in Iowa and New Hampshire. On Wednesday, the super PAC also announced endorsements from 99 Florida lawmakers – a show of force from the rank-and-file Republicans who helped push DeSantis’ agenda through the state legislature this spring.

“Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida legislature have worked together to achieve historic results and produce conservative victories for the people of Florida – turning the state into a beacon of freedom and the fastest growing state in the nation,” Never Back Down spokeswoman Erin Perrine said.

Trump’s campaign dismissed the Florida endorsements as politically motivated, noting that DeSantis had not yet signed the state budget, for which he has line-item veto power over the pet projects of state lawmakers.

“There are some brave legislators who have stood up to DeSantis’ Swamp-like behavior and resisted his intimidation tactics in order to do what is right for Florida and the country,” Trump spokesman Steven Cheung said. “Those who he can’t control – including almost the entirety of the Florida federal congressional delegation – have endorsed President Trump because he’s the only candidate who can beat Joe Biden and take back the White House.”

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories


People swim in the surf at Waimea Bay Beach Park on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, under a warnin...

Forrest Brown

647 people drown each day. Here’s how to avoid being one of them

(CNN) — On Good Friday 2017, Wyatt Werneth got a call from his wife, who had gone grocery shopping with their daughter: The car’s broken down. Please rescue us. Werneth hopped in his vehicle to assist, driving by Patrick Space Force Base near Cape Canaveral, Florida. From the A1A highway, Werneth said you can see the […]

15 hours ago

Payment apps like PayPal and Venmo might be convenient, but they’re not banks — and a federal f...

Chris Isidore

Don’t store cash in Venmo and PayPal, US regulator warns

NEW YORK (CNN) — Payment apps like PayPal and Venmo might be convenient, but they’re not banks — and a federal financial services watchdog is worried that too many consumers are treating them as such. Some consumers are using services like PayPal, Venmo, Cash App and Apple Pay for direct deposit of paychecks, or simply […]

15 hours ago

President Joe Biden and House Republicans have reached an agreement in principle to address the deb...

Tami Luhby

Here’s what’s in the debt ceiling package

(CNN) — Congress has passed the debt ceiling package, just days before the Treasury Department would have run out of sufficient funds to pay all of the nation’s obligations on time and in full. After months of stalemate and weeks of tense negotiations, the deal came together over the Memorial Day holiday weekend. But its passage in Congress […]

2 days ago

Hundreds of Gannett journalists plan to stage a one-day strike during the media company’s annual ...

Oliver Darcy

Journalists at the nation’s largest newspaper chain are walking off the job in a showdown with its CEO

(CNN) — The biggest newspaper chain in the country is about to be rocked by the biggest walkout of its staff in history. On Monday, hundreds of Gannett journalists plan to stage a one-day strike during the media company’s annual shareholder meeting. Their message: Gannett needs new leadership. The journalists want shareholders to take a vote […]

2 days ago

The store owner, identified as 58-year-old Rick Chow, was arrested and charged Monday with Cyrus’...

Rebekah Riess and Nouran Salahieh, CNN

Convenience store owner in So. Carolina charged with murder

A South Carolina convenience store owner has been charged with murder after allegedly chasing a 14-year-old boy and shooting him in the back after suspecting the boy of shoplifting, authorities said.

3 days ago

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy speaks to reporters as he walks through Statuary Hall in the U....

Clare Foran, Kristin Wilson and Haley Talbot

House passes debt limit deal as lawmakers race to avert default

Lawmakers are racing the clock to avert a first-ever default ahead of June 5, a critical date set by the Treasury Department.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

close up of rose marvel saliva blooms in purple...

Shannon Cavalero

Drought Tolerant Perennials for Utah

The best drought tolerant plants for Utah can handle high elevations, alkaline soils, excessive exposure to wind, and use of secondary water.

Group of cheerful team members high fiving each other...

Visit Bear Lake

How To Plan a Business Retreat in Bear Lake This Spring

Are you wondering how to plan a business retreat this spring? Read our sample itinerary to plan a team getaway to Bear Lake.

Cheerful young woman writing an assignment while sitting at desk between two classmates during clas...

BYU EMBA at the Marriott School of Business

Hear it Firsthand: 6 Students Share Their Executive MBA Experience at BYU’s Marriott School of Business

The Executive MBA program at BYU offers great opportunities. Hear experiences straight from students enrolled in the program.

Skier being towed by a rider on a horse. Skijoring....

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking for a New Winter Activity? Try Skijoring in Bear Lake

Skijoring is when someone on skis is pulled by a horse, dog, animal, or motor vehicle. The driver leads the skiers through an obstacle course over jumps, hoops, and gates.

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...

Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer.

Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy.

DeSantis expected to enter 2024 presidential race next week