JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — CBS and FOX national both reported they’ve confirmed Governor Ron DeSantis will officially throw his name into the hat and kick off his long-rumored Presidential campaign next week.
Political experts Action News Jax often speaks with have been throwing out late May or early June as far back as November 14th, which was less than a week after the Governor’s re-election victory.
“Now it really seems like it’s gonna happen,” Aubrey Jewett, a political science professor at the University of Central Florida, said.
Jewett noted with members of the Governor’s staff recently moving over to the campaign side and Wednesday’s announcement of 99 Florida lawmakers endorsing the Governor for President, all signs point to an imminent announcement.
“And I might add, also there’s now some thought that he really needs to get in this race. At one point, there was a thought that okay, yeah, this would be a good time to do it after the session. But now I think a lot of his supporters are saying well not only is it a good time. It’s like the only time,” Jewett said.
Months of one-sided attacks from DeSantis’ top GOP challenger former-President Donald Trump have taken a toll on the Governor’s poll numbers.
He’s now a distant second to Trump, by roughly 30 points on average.
Trump’s latest attack involved calling into question DeSantis’ ability to deliver victories, after seeing his candidates of choice go down in the Kentucky Gubernatorial Primary and the Jacksonville mayor’s race.
“I don’t want to overstate that this was like somehow a huge failure of the campaign. No. No, it was not. But it does feed into the narrative, a factual narrative that DeSantis has lost a little bit of momentum and maybe doesn’t have the power and sway that some people thought,” Jewett said.
But Jewett warned not to count DeSantis out against the former President, as he’s shown an ability to win big in a state where many didn’t think possible.
“I mean he won by 19 percent. I’d say you can’t sell this guy short. He’s certainly got a chance to knock off Trump for the nomination,” Jewett said.
One question Jewett raised: Even if DeSantis wins the nomination, will Trump and his supporters unite around him?
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However, there’s a lot to get through before that question may need to be answered.