After months of swirling speculation, U.S. Rep. DeSantis is officially running for Florida governor. 

DeSantis made the announcement Friday. 

DeSantis has represented Florida’s 6th District in Congress since 2013 but widely flew under the radar until recent months when political insiders began speculating he would make a bid for governor.

DeSantis’ first big brush with gubernatorial publicity happened last month, when President Donald Trump tweeted his support for DeSantis, a potential boon to the Congressman’s gubernatorial aspirations.

DeSantis referenced the endorsement in his announcement on Friday, seeming to indicate it was partly Trump’s push which encouraged him to run for the job. 

“As you remember, a few weeks ago the president tweeted support for me as a candidate for governor of Florida,” DeSantis said. “So, today we are going to begin filing paperwork to begin that effort.”

DeSantis, a longtime Republican, said he felt he was in a position to advance the Sunshine State on the heels of Gov. Rick Scott’s two-term governorship. 

DeSantis said he would officially kick off his campaign later this month. 

Though he isn’t the first Republican to declare for the position, DeSantis is so far the only other major candidate to run for the job besides Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam and former state Sen. Jack Latvala. 

Latvala’s bid, however, is widely speculated to be dead after he resigned from the Florida Senate following an investigation into claims he sexually harassed and groped at least seven women in Tallahassee. An explosive report from the Senate Special Master detailed harrowing experiences from Senate staffers who also alleged the senator exchanged votes for sex. 

At least one recent poll suggests DeSantis is in a good position to run for the job. 

A survey from Remington Research Group released earlier this week found DeSantis –besting Putnam and Florida House of Representatives Speaker Richard Corcoran (also a potential candidate) by several points.

DeSantis routes both Putnam and Corcoran in a hypothetical matchup, taking 28 percent of the vote to Putnam’s 25 percent.

Corcoran received only three percent of the Republican primary vote in the hypothetical robopoll matchup, while a significantly larger portion of voters — 44 percent — said they are undecided as to who they’d vote for in the GOP primary.

When the options were narrowed to two — DeSantis and Putnam — DeSantis once again narrowly took the lead over the state Ag Commissioner, taking 30 percent to Putnam’s 29 percent.

Democrats were quick to pounce on DeSantis on Friday, slamming him for his connections to the president.

“Ron DeSantis running as Trump’s hand-picked candidate with the backing of out-of-state billionaires may endear him to the most partisan primary voters, but he is too extreme for Florida,” said former U.S. Rep. and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Gwen Graham. “While DeSantis has dedicated his time in Congress to protecting Trump from Mueller and becoming a Fox News star, we look forward to a vigorous debate on the real issues that affect Florida families most.”

 

Reach reporter Allison Nielsen by email at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen.


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