DeSantis announces his 2024 presidential candidacy

  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced his candidacy in a video posted to Twitter
  • DeSantis regularly polls second in GOP primary surveys behind Donald Trump
  • In early May, DeSantis severed ties with his state political committee

(NewsNation) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis officially announced his 2024 presidential bid on Wednesday after months of wide speculation that he would run for the Republican nomination.

After filing paperwork on Wednesday afternoon, DeSantis officially announced his candidacy in a video on his Twitter page and in a Twitter Spaces conversation before a scheduled interview with Fox News. DeSantis is one of a number of right-wing politicians and pundits, including Tucker Carlson, who are shifting their focus from the network to Twitter.

The Twitter Spaces conversation, scheduled for 6 p.m. ET, experienced technical difficulties due to what CEO Elon Musk said was server overload, and as of 6:15 p.m., DeSantis still hadn’t spoken. The Spaces ended at 6:20 p.m. and a new one started a few minutes later.

“I am running for president of the United States to lead our great American comeback,” DeSantis said in the Spaces once it finally got up and running. “We must restore sanity to our nation. … This means replacing the woke mind virus with reality, facts and enduring principles. Merit must trump identity politics.”

In explaining his decision to announce on Twitter, he said he chose to go “against the grain,” just as he did with his COVID-19 policies, which were looser than those of other states around the country.

The Florida governor has regularly polled in second place in GOP primary surveys, behind only former President Donald Trump. The Florida governor currently sits at about 29 points behind the former president, according to a polling average from FiveThirtyEight.

“Glitchy. Tech issues. Uncomfortable silences. A complete failure to launch. And that’s just the candidate,” a Trump spokesperson told NewsNation of DeSantis’ launch.

Trump posted on his Truth Social platform two videos mocking DeSantis and said “his collar is too big!”

He did not mention Trump even once in his discussion with Musk that ultimately spanned more than an hour. But he said he was ready to fight.

“Buckle up when I get in there, because the status quo is not acceptable,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis severed his ties with his state political committee in early May, a move that anticipated his 2024 presidential campaign announcement because the governor is not able to use money raised by that political action committee (PAC) for a race at the federal level, according to Politico.

However, a super PAC promoting a 2024 DeSantis run planned to have dozens of staff members in place in the first 18 states on the Republican presidential primary calendar in the following weeks, which was another move indicating that his expected 2024 announcement was drawing closer, The Associated Press reported.

The governor said earlier in the month he would make a decision on whether to launch a 2024 presidential bid “relatively soon.”

In April, DeSantis met with dozens of Republican lawmakers in Washington in an attempt to gain support in Congress.

Reps. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., Chip Roy, R-Texas, and Laurel Lee, R-Fla., have all endorsed DeSantis, even though at the time he had not formally launched his White House bid.

DeSantis served in the House for six years before making a gubernatorial run in 2018. He reportedly has avoided political gatherings in Washington in recent years.

Trump unveiled his 2024 campaign six months ago.

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson have declared their intentions to run as 2024 Republican candidates, calling on voters to elect someone other than Trump. Former Vice President Mike Pence is working to gain traction with Republican voters, and Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., recently launched a presidential exploratory committee.

The ultimate Republican nominee is expected to face Democratic President Joe Biden on the general election ballot in November 2024.

Beyond the primary, DeSantis’ greatest longer-term challenge may rest with the far-right policies he enacted as governor as an unapologetic leader in what he calls his “war on woke.”

The governor’s highest-profile political fight has come against the Florida entertainment giant Disney, which publicly opposed legislation barring discussions on gender identity and sexual orientation in grade school classrooms. In retaliation, DeSantis seized control of Disney World’s governing body and installed loyalists who are threatening to take over park planning.

“We will never surrender to the woke mob and we will leave woke ideology in the dustbin of history,” he said on the Twitter stream.

The Hill and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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