(NewsNation) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has involved himself in the 2022 midterm races.
On the campaign trail this weekend, DeSantis stumped for Republican Senate candidate J.D. Vance in Ohio and Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano.
His appearances fuel speculation that DeSantis is building a national profile to potentially run for president in 2024.
A presidential bid would mean he first has to go through the most likely presumptive nominee in his party, former President Donald Trump.
On the trail for Trump-backed candidates, DeSantis has been delivering what sounds a lot like presidential campaign speeches.
“And so I think that we need people in Florida, Ohio, all across the country, to say we are not going to let this woke mind virus run over our institutions,” DeSantis said while in Ohio. “We will fight woke in the classroom. We will fight woke in businesses, we will fight woke in government agencies.”
DeSantis has become a high-profile figure in his party and a possible alternative to a second term with Trump.
Polls show DeSantis consistently as Republican voters’ second choice to Trump, with some even showing him ahead.
His popularity is largely due to how he’s handled cultural issues that motivate the Republican base, issues such as critical race theory and “woke” racial bias training.
Just this week, a federal judge blocked parts of a new Florida law DeSantis championed, the “Stop Woke Act,” which restricts how businesses and schools can discuss race during employee training.
DeSantis’ office said in a statement he’ll fight the ruling.
Indicators point to this being the Republican Party’s year, and talk of a “red wave” in which Republicans easily take back the House and Senate is widespread.
However, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., signaled more sharply than ever that Republicans’ performance in the midterm elections may not be as strong as the party had hoped, dampening GOP hopes for a Senate takeover.
“I think there’s probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate,” McConnell told reporters. “Senate races are just different. They’re statewide, candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome.”
Republicans would only need to flip one seat, but candidates Herschel Walker in Georgia, Dr. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania and J.D. Vance in Ohio are all underperforming in their poll numbers.
Oz and Walker both are consistently polling below their Democratic opponents.