Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis dispelled speculation and rumors around his prospects of being a 2024 Republican presidential candidate. DeSantis was asked about if he and former President Donald J. Trump would run for president while visiting a monoclonal treatment site in St. Cloud, Florida.
“All the speculation about me is purely manufactured,” DeSantis said. “I just do my job. We work hard. Obviously, our state has led on a lot of things, including on this (monoclonal antibody treatment) now. Other states are copying us. But that’s what it’s really all about, just helping folks here. I hear all this stuff and, honestly, it’s nonsense.”
DeSantis has been rumored, for months now, as a Republican frontrunner for president in 2024. His nationwide fundraising efforts have drawn some of the biggest donors in GOP politics. DeSantis has also drawn large campaign contributions from some of Trump’s former ambassadors.
In August, DeSantis raised over $5 million, most of which came from small, one-time contributors. DeSantis also raised over $4 million in July and the disparity between DeSantis and his likely Democratic opponents continues to be a wide margin.
According to the Florida Department of State Division of Elections database, Congressman Charlie Crist (D-FL-13) has raised just over $851,000 and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D) has raised approximately $526,000. Crist and Fried are both running against DeSantis in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. The database’s campaign finance activity has yet to reflect August’s contributions.
Crist and Fried have each capitalized on DeSantis’ campaign tour. Crist tweeted that it is “despicable” that DeSantis would travel across the country while Florida is still fighting the pandemic.
“Retweet if you think it’s despicable for Ron DeSantis to abandon a Florida-in-crisis to go to a fundraiser in New Jersey,” Crist tweeted.
Retweet if you think it’s despicable for Ron DeSantis to abandon a Florida-in-crisis to go to a fundraiser in New Jersey.
— Charlie Crist (@CharlieCrist) August 31, 2021
Fried sent a campaign email echoing similar sentiments.
“As COVID hospitalizations remain near all-time highs, Ron DeSantis went to New Jersey this weekend to raise money from a major Trump donor,” Fried’s campaign email said.
While DeSantis is downplaying the potential of a presidential run, rumors around Trump’s return to politics are ramping up. Trump is scheduled to host a rally in early primary state, Iowa, on October 9, confirmed by the Des Moines Register.
Even though DeSantis has visited and campaigned in numerous states, he has avoided traveling to Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two states to hold presidential preference primaries.
– – –
Grant Holcomb is a reporter at the Florida Capital Star and the Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.
Photo “Ron DeSantis” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0. Background Photo “White House” by Peter Griffin.