Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) has privately said he plans to run for president in 2024, according to a report by the Washington Post on Thursday.
DeSantis has yet to publicly announce whether he will run for president, quietly growing his following as former President Donald Trump continues his comeback campaign.
DeSantis privately says he'll run in 2024: Report https://t.co/PVgUyNeJvh
— Phyllis (@Phyllis94584953) March 10, 2023
"A super PAC founded by Ken Cuccinelli, who served as acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services under the Trump administration, was also created Thursday," the Washington Examiner reported.
“Ron DeSantis doesn’t just talk — he acts, but most of all, he never backs down,” Cuccinelli said in a video announcing the Never Back Down Super PAC.
“Gov. DeSantis, today, I’m asking you to run for president. You’ve had our back; now we will have yours," he added.
— Ken Cuccinelli (@KenCuccinelli) March 9, 2023
DeSantis has long dismissed Trump's attacks against him, choosing not to respond to the former president's criticisms.
“So, now I hear he might want to run against me. So, we’ll handle that the way I handle things,” Trump said in January.
Trump says he'll "handle" DeSantis if he challenges him in 2024
“So, now I hear he might want to run against me. So, we’ll handle that the way I handle things,” Trump said Monday on the podcast.
— AwwSayCanUsee (@Desiree_Ahgudo) January 17, 2023
DeSantis has instead made several moves to help build a Trump alternative for 2024. Among them is his new book that was released last week, selling over 94,000 copies.
The governor is also visiting a variety of other states for speaking engagements, including upcoming visits to Iowa and New Hampshire, two of the earliest primary states.
The actions seem to indicate DeSantis plans to run but may wish to make his announcement as late as possible to avoid a lengthy attack from Trump.
If so, conservatives will be forced to decide between two Florida leaders in the campaign for the nomination in 2024. DeSantis represents the new freedom-focus on the post-pandemic right as Trump seeks to reignite the MAGA spirit that led to his previous victory.