DeSantis moves for Republican presidential election on his own terms

NEW YORK (AP) — Republican presidential candidates typically battle for key seats at the Conservative Political Action Conference. But this week, as conservative activists flocked to the Washington suburbs, the governor of Florida. Ron DeSantis We are looking for donors in Texas and California over a thousand miles away.

The apparent disdain for the CPAC is nothing new for DeSantis, who emerged as a front-runner for the Republican nomination in the early stages of the 2024 presidential election despite ignoring many conventions of modern politics.

DeSantis is Conservative culture battle On cable television he frequently avoids gatherings of fellow Republican governors and party leaders. It is the state that hosts the first presidential primary election in the United States. And he’s often at odds with the press, refusing to even inform local media about last week’s rare three-state tour with law enforcement.

In fact, as DeSantis moves toward a run for the White House, the 44-year-old Republican governor, in his own way, on his own time, regardless of whether he has allies in Republican leadership or relationships across the country. On the line, it is becoming more and more obvious to manage the presidential aspirations. in the press.

“DeSantis, with his style and acting as governor, has shown his willingness to fight the establishment, a traditional force,” said Club for Growth, an influential Washington-based conservative group. said David McIntosh, chairman of the donald trump.

DeSantis is probably the most powerful threat so far. Trump’s Efforts to Win the Republican Nomination Third time. Club for Growth will host DeSantis among six presidential candidates and invite top donors to a private retreat in Florida next weekend. Trump was not invited.

DeSantis, meanwhile, has quietly begun to expand his political coalition on his terms, just as he unveils a book, The Courage to be Free, which will be published on Tuesday.

He spent the weekend behind closed doors at a luxury South Florida hotel for a “freedom blueprint” retreat with more than 100 donors, elected officials and conservative influencers. Attendees included former Trump Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, and Texas-based donors, former members of Trump’s National Finance Committee. Roy Bailey was included.

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt and Tennessee Governor Bill Lee; Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson; Utah Senator Mike Lee; Texas Rep. Chip Roy; Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massey. attended.

Fox News host Laura Ingraham joins a ‘strike back against awakening’ discussion with Chaya Rajchik, who runs the social media account Libs of TikTok, after hosting a chat with DeSantis on Sunday. Did.

Details of the gathering were revealed by attendees who requested anonymity to discuss the private event.

Conservative commentator Ann Coulter noted at Saturday’s panel discussion that he had failed to build a wall that spanned the entire U.S.-Mexico border, while Trump was largely ignored at the weekend’s retreat. . DeSantis on border security, according to one person in the room. She accused the former president of never wanting to actually build it in the first place.

Over the next few days and weeks, DeSantis will use the release of his book to introduce himself to voters outside of Florida. win re-election More than 19 points difference.

He will make his first appearances in major primary calendar states such as Iowa and New Hampshire in the coming weeks, in addition to election hot spots such as Georgia and Pennsylvania. Last week, he made surprise stops to court law enforcement leaders in New York City, Philadelphia and Chicago, but the event was private and he didn’t notify the local media.

The Florida governor is set to headline two Republican fundraising events in Texas on Saturday. The next day, he speaks at his $500 reception for the Republican Party in Orange County, California. He will be the keynote speaker for the Alabama GOP next week.

DeSantis has begun expanding his profile, but has done far less to connect with key voters and potential allies in key states than most of his class in early 2024.

He has long avoided gatherings of Republican governors and high-ranking Republican officials.He has never set foot in Iowa.

Former New Hampshire Republican Party Speaker Jennifer Horn says Republican primary voters often embrace dissident candidates who are “willing to forge their own lanes and walk their own paths” bottom.

“But when you’re running for president, and in this environment, I think he has to be careful not to fall victim to his arrogance.” I have a belief that it is, and that is never a good thing.”

Meanwhile, DeSantis’ team doesn’t feel an urgent need to participate in the 2024 election, which already has three Republican candidates. Trump announced three months ago.

He has also shown no interest in responding to Trump’s increasingly personal attacks. A recent social post on his media suggested that DeSantis behaved inappropriately toward an underage girl while briefly teaching at a high school in his early 20s. increase.

Trump calls the Governor of Florida Ron DeSanctimonias and Meatball Ron.

In contrast, DeSantis, in his new book, actually believes he helped Trump win the governorship of Florida in 2018.

“I knew that Trump’s endorsement would put me in touch with Republican primary voters across Florida,” DeSantis said. I wrote. Early copy obtained by the Guardian.

According to Sam Nambug, a former Trump aide turned critic, Trump’s increasing focus on DeSantis is unintentionally helping to define the governor of Florida as the Republican’s strongest Trump candidate. It could help the Governor of Florida.

“Look, Donald is worried. If I worked for him, he would say the playbook needs to be updated,” Nambug said.

Meanwhile, DeSantis is focused on expanding the conservative agenda in Florida’s looming state legislature, which runs from March to May.

already he pushed to eliminate Diversity, equity, and inclusion programs at public universities and colleges in Florida. His other priority is allowing people to carry guns in public without a permit. Weakening of laws protecting journalists from lawsuits. The crackdown on illegal immigration includes plans to eliminate state tuition fees for illegal domestic college students.

A nod to his political strength, DeSantis increasingly comes under fire from Republican rival groups.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu has publicly denounced DeSantis’ decision to use government means to punish private companies like Disney that oppose his policy priorities. North Dakota Governor Christy Noem’s team has criticized DeSantis’ abortion record for not being conservative.

DeSantis did himself no favors last month inside the Republican National Committee when he openly endorsed a challenger in RNC chairman Ronna McDaniel’s bitter re-election race.McDaniel won re-election easily to her post.

“We’re going to move forward,” McDaniel said during CNN’s State of the Union address on Sunday when asked about his relationship with DeSantis. time. “