Top GOP members in the Florida legislature look poised to change a law that would make Governor Ron DeSantis resign if he decides to launch a 2024 presidential run. Senate President Kathleen Passidomo and Florida House Speaker Paul Renner said it would be a ‘good idea’ to ensure Gov. DeSantis could stay on in his gubernatorial position if he ran for and then lost the White House during the election.
Florida has a ‘resign to run’ law that forces office-holders to promise to resign if they seek a federal office and the terms overlap. A landslide reelected Governor DeSantis in the midterms. His second, four-year term would line up with whoever is elected president in two years.
“If an individual who is Florida governor is running for president, I think he should be allowed to do it,” said Passidomo. “I really do. That’s a big honor and a privilege, so it is a good idea.”
The law was revised initially in 2008 so Governor Charlie Crist, who was still a Republican at that time, might be added to the late Senator John McCain’s presidential ticket. Crist was on McCain’s shortlist for his vice-presidential running mate, but instead, McCain chose Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. A short four years later, Florida lawmakers again put the rule in place.
DeSantis seen as greatest threat to Trump
DeSantis is seen as the greatest threat to former President Donald Trump as the GOP choice for the 2024 presidential nomination. Trump recently announced he would seek the White House again.
Leading up to his presidential run announcement, Trump began calling DeSantis a new nickname, ‘Ron DeSanctimonious,’ and attacked him on Truth Social and in other statements.
DeSantis defeated Crist, now a Democrat, by almost 20 points, but it is unclear if he will challenge Trump for the Republican nomination. The governor may have to resign if he decides to run for the presidency, if he secures the GOP nomination, or if he wins the presidential election. The text of the law says, “Any officer who qualifies for federal public office must resign from the office he or she presently holds if the terms, or any part thereof, run concurrently with each other.”
A clarification from the legislature would make it easier for Gov. DeSantis to seek the presidency and return to his governor’s post if he is unsuccessful. It’s unclear if DeSantis would want to take on the grueling task of campaigning for president while continuing to lead the third-largest state in the U.S.
DeSantis resigned from the U.S. House when he launched his gubernatorial run. Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nunez would replace him if he were to leave his position to launch a run for president. Nunez would be the first woman to become governor of Florida.