DeSantis milks out-of-state travel to lay possible 2024 foundation

“My message from Florida is that if Joe Biden breaks the Constitution, if Joe Biden attacks the jobs of Floridaers and Americans, if Joe Biden targets the livelihoods of Florida families and American families, I will fight him,” he said DeSantis cheers and criticizes the President’s executive order, which prescribes Covid vaccines for employees of medium and large employers.

DeSantis’ trip to Nebraska is part of his ongoing split-screen effort as he prepares for his home re-election while also laying the groundwork for a White House bid if former President Donald Trump suspends competition in 2024. His burgeoning national presence has made him a top target for the Democrats in 2022 as well as Biden – but so far he’s basking in his moment.

His visit to the Midwest is one of at least a dozen state trips he has been on since May. He has gone all the way from Southern California to Kentucky to the outskirts of Milwaukee and New Jersey. Since most of these are campaign visits, they are not included in his public schedule and the governor rarely informs the public about his trips outside of the state. He also visited the Texas-Mexico border with Texas Governor Greg Abbott in July, where they disrupted President Joe Biden’s immigration policy.

DeSantis didn’t have the crowd to himself on Sunday, however, and was backed by two other possible 2024 presidential candidates: former Vice President Mike Pence and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Early Republican primaries show the three will lead the potential field of candidates if Trump opts against a rematch against Biden.

Another future presidential candidate may also have spoken on Sunday: Nebraska’s Governor Pete Ricketts, who hosted the event. His second and final term ends next year and Ricketts hasn’t ruled out a future presidential nomination.

Both Biden and DeSantis have attacked each other over the administration of Covid to the delight of their respective political bases, and everyone watched their job approval ratings drop as coronavirus infections, hospital admissions and deaths rose this summer due to the spread of the Delta variant .

Florida led the way. The death rate from Covid since the pandemic began is now the 12th highest in the country. It was February the 27th in the nation before the Delta variant spread and after previous doom predictions failed to materialize.

DeSantis’ ban on mask mandates across the state – along with his feud with Biden and the Democrats and his constant criticism of national media coverage of Florida – made him a GOP heartthrob nationwide and placed him in the top group of potential Republican hopefuls White house.

The latest public poll, released last month by Republican-themed Echelon Insights, showed DeSantis was just 25-23 percent ahead of runner-up pence in a presidential primary election without Trump. That corresponds to a loss of 7 points for DeSantis in one month. Cruz was third with 9 percent of the hypothetical votes.

One more current survey by Morning Consult Political Intelligence showed that DeSantis net registrations in Florida fell 14 points between early July and late August. The poll earlier this summer found that 54 percent agreed with DeSantis’ work, while 40 percent disagreed. Now his approval ratings are evenly distributed, with 48 percent approving his work and 48 percent rejecting it.

Biden antagonist

The Florida governor, a college football fan, knew his audience and deplored Nebraska at the decline in their Cornhusker fortunes, which mirror those of the great Florida schools.

But after that ease, DeSantis the pugilist came out. DeSantis kept swinging his speech with popular slang expressions like “give me a break” and “ya” instead of “you” to the left and Biden. DeSantis mentioned Trump positively on two occasions, but never referred to 2024.

DeSantis accused Biden of being “obsessed” and “crazy” about Florida that Florida parents have the right to prohibit their children from wearing masks in schools. [Biden and his administration say they’re just trying to stop the spread of Covid and keep kids safe and on Friday opened an investigation into Florida’s mask policies.] Though DeSantis underestimated it Given the scale of hospitalizations and deaths the Delta Wave brought in, he insisted that cases would recede almost as quickly as they skyrocketed, and preliminary figures show the summer wave in the state was peaking .

DeSantis deliberately decided not to use this setting Walking in early primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire, and a planned trip to Nevada in July was canceled due to a storm in Florida. Still, given the unclear nature of Trump’s future plans, DeSantis brushes aside any talk about 2024.

“I just do my job and we work hard … I hear all that stuff and honestly it’s nonsense,” DeSantis said last week of the president’s chatter, calling it “purely made.”

An adviser close to DeSantis also insisted the talk was about an off-grassroots presidential election, saying the out-of-state visits were necessary to build a sizable campaign account before his re-election efforts.

David Kochel, a senior Republican campaign strategist based in Iowa, said, “It’s really smart” for DeSantis to stay out of the early states for the time being because he doesn’t need them.

“DeSantis has built its brand in a really unique way,” said Kochel.

On the national stage

DeSantis’ growing national fundraising footprint, travel outside the state, and hands-on handling of the pandemic have raised his profile across the country.

“DeSantis is energetic, he’s everywhere,” said Christian Ziegler, a Sarasota district commissioner and vice chairman of the Florida Republican Party. “Every time I turn on the TV, it’s there.”

DeSantis has also taken on an evolving role as a noisy critic of the Biden government. He organized an attempt to dispatch more than 50 state law enforcement officers to secure the Texas-Mexico border, which he touted with Abbott in Texas in July.

But DeSantis is doing something else too: he’s building an organization to protect his prospects for 2024 by making sure he’ll be easily re-elected next year. A defeat in now red Florida would make his presidential aspirations forgotten. So he’s well on his way to raising up to $ 150 million in case a self-financier or someone with massive national support decides that his current Democratic gubernatorial challengers are not viable.

The governor took a hiatus from fundraising in the early months of the 2020 pandemic. Since becoming governor, DeSantis has raised $ 55 million for his political committee, most of it since last October. That mammoth loot includes a stream of smaller donors from almost every state in the country this summer, showing its appeal outside of Florida. The numbers show that over the past two and a half years, his committee has raised around $ 23 million from donors listing from state addresses.

DeSantis has built its brand methodically. First elected to Congress in 2012, he started as a low profile Congressman who became a staunch defender of Trump through constant appearances on Fox News. That earned him important support from Trump when he ran for governor against Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in the GOP primary.

He flirted with being temperate in his first year in office – after a razor-thin victory in 2018 – but has returned to his conservative roots during the Covid-19 pandemic that followed. DeSantis has continually lifted bans and avoided masking requirements while pushing a legislative agenda in 2021 tailored to a GOP area code in 2024, including new laws targeting tech companies, protesters and transgender athletes.

Attack on the left

DeSantis’s speech on Sunday sounded more typical of a Republican primary candidate than a general election speech for a governor in a battlefield, addressing voter fraud, illegal immigration, critical racial theory, police funding, transgender athletes, big tech and wakeness. which he kept mentioning.

“Just as Florida stands for law and order, we also stand as a wall for alertness and the associated ideologies,” said DeSantis.

What DeSantis didn’t mention: Some of his top initiatives, such as a measure against violent demonstrations, got stuck in courts because judges intervened and prevented them from being enforced.

Matt Towery, a longtime political analyst and GOP poll researcher who now lives in Florida, said DeSantis appears to be “at a crossroads”.

“Of course he’s out taking on the president, and the president is picking him up, which raises his profile,” said Towery, a former Newt Gingrich employee. But he says DeSantis “needs to be careful” to make sure he stays engaged in Florida.

“You have to do business at home first,” said Towery.

For DeSantis, this means a constant fight against the left and a call to the Conservatives to fight what he believed to be a huge left-wing conspiracy involving the mainstream news media, social media companies, other big corporations and elite. Universities were involved.

“If you stand up for the right things, they will attack you. The left comes after you. The regime-controlled media will slander you, ”DeSantis told the Nebraska audience on Sunday. “So if you get up, it’s not free in our country right now. You have to have a backbone. You have to show courage. You have to be ready to stand against a wall. You have to be ready to walk the line. And that’s exactly what we’re doing in the state of Florida. We won’t let the bastards crush us in the state of Florida. “

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