Politics

DeSantis continues to score points with conservatives

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is inching closer to a 2024 presidential announcement as he continues to fulfill campaign promises.

The governor was in Tampa on Wednesday, signing into law restrictions on pronoun usage among students in Florida schools, banning gender dysphoria treatments on minors, and further limiting LGBTQ+ instruction in classrooms.

At the same time, the political script got flipped in Jacksonville where Democrat Donna Deegan upended Republican Daniel Davis.

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Meanwhile, there is still no official announcement from the governor on a candidacy for president.

“They’re having third graders declare pronouns,” DeSantis said Wednesday in Tampa. “We’re not doing the pronoun Olympics in Florida. It’s not happening here.”

In the eyes of many, the governor is scoring more points with conservatives.

“Everything he seems to do resonates with the regular folks out there,” Peter Feaman, a member of the Republican National Committee in Florida, said. “He has a record to run on. Don’t forget the whole country is looking at Florida.”

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One place where the message may be stumbling is Jacksonville, where Deegan won a hotly contested race for mayor over Davis, a DeSantis-endorsed candidate.

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Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg, a Democrat, said the victory is a pushback to the DeSantis’ conservative agenda.

“I think a victory like this makes Democrats feel like, perhaps, we can be a two-party state again,” Aronberg said. “I think the DeSantis zest to move to the far right to outflank Donald Trump, he likely has turned off some swing voters.”

On Wednesday, DeSantis won the endorsement of nearly 100 state senators and representatives.

Palm Beach County Republican state Rep. Rick Roth was one of 13 lawmakers who did not offer a presidential endorsement to the governor.

State Rep. Rick Roth is among the Florida Republicans still supporting Donald Trump for president, not Gov. Ron DeSantis.

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State Rep. Rick Roth is among the Florida Republicans still supporting Donald Trump for president, not Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“I think it’s a mixed bag,” Roth said. “I think there are some things that are going to help him. I think there are some things that are going to hurt him.”

The lawmaker said as much as he likes DeSantis, he still prefers Trump to represent the Republican party in the 2024 presidential election.

Roth said for the most part he went along with the DeSantis agenda, with some exceptions, including Florida’s new abortion law banning the procedure after six weeks of pregnancy.

There are plans later this week for DeSantis to travel to New Hampshire, a key primary state.

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