Florida lawmakers are poised to clear the path for Gov. Ron DeSantis to announce a 2024 presidential campaign without needing to resign as governor.
Republicans in the Florida Senate are expected to add the provision to an existing elections bill making its way through the chamber before the end of session. While opinions differ on whether Florida law truly requires a governor to resign in order to run for president, lawmakers in the state are looking to simply remove any question.
“If there is ambiguity, and it’s been something that’s been talked about — especially ad nauseam since November if not longer — then let’s do it, let’s clarify it,” Republican state Sen. Danny Burgess told Politico. “That way, should we be fortunate enough to have a president or vice president from Florida one day, we’ve cleared that air.”
DeSantis is widely expected to enter the 2024 primary in the coming weeks, where he will face former President Trump and others. DeSantis is widely seen as the most credible challenger to Trump in the primary, though the former president maintains a significant lead in polls.
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DeSantis’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
If enacted, the change would be a blow to Trump’s campaign, which has previously criticized DeSantis and suggested that even his current travels constitute campaigning.
“Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is currently on a month-long, taxpayer-funded presidential campaign schedule paid for by Florida taxpayers, and new questions are emerging as to whether this will force DeSantis to resign from office,” the Trump campaign wrote in an email to supporters earlier in April.
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Florida Democrats have made the same criticism against DeSantis, arguing his recent trip to Japan and his other travel across the U.S. shows that he has abandoned Floridians.
“This is just the latest example of Florida Republicans enabling DeSantis’ pursuit of his national ambitions as he fails Floridians on the issues that affect them most,” Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Nikki Fried told Politico.
President Biden declared his own re-election campaign earlier this week, ending speculation that his age may cause him to pass the torch after one term. Biden, 80, is the oldest person ever to run for president, followed by Trump, 76. DeSantis, meanwhile, is 44.
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