Governor DeSantis has ‘All but Declared’ His 2024 Campaign to Top Donors and Supporters 

GOP Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has all but declared his 2024 campaign for the presidency in a call with donors on Thursday. During the call, he reportedly slammed top Republican rival Donald Trump as unelectable. 

DeSantis rallied donors and supporters in the conference call, during which he argued he is the only GOP candidate with a chance of defeating President Joe Biden in the 2024 presidential election. 

The Florida governor also took several swipes at Trump and hinted that the former president puts himself before the country.

“There are some that kind of raise money just for themselves,” said DeSantis, according to a reporter from the New York Times who listened to the call. According to CBS News reports, Gov. DeSantis will officially launch his campaign on May 24 when he files papers with the Federal Election Commission, followed by a more formal kickoff event planned around June 1. 

During the donor call, Gov. DeSantis said only three candidates were ‘credible’ for the 2024 presidential race but that he was the only one who could win both the Republican primary and the general election. 

“You have basically three people at this point that are credible in this whole thing,” DeSantis told donors on the call, which was organized by the super political action committee (PAC), Never Back Down, which is supporting him. 

“Biden, Trump, and me. And I think of those three; two have a chance to get elected president — Biden and me, based on all the data in swing states, which is not great for the former president and probably insurmountable because people aren’t going to change their view of him,” he argued. 

President Biden officially announced on April 25 that he will seek a second presidential term in the 2024 election. 

In addition to Trump, Republican candidates who have declared their candidacies include former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, and former South Carolina Governor and Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley. 

Republican U.S. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, also plans to announce his presidential campaign on Monday formally. 

However, once DeSantis declares his candidacy, the governor will immediately become former President Trump’s biggest rival in the race and shake up the race that has so far been primarily one-sided. 

DeSantis will likely file paperwork declaring his candidacy before a crucial meeting with donors in Miami on May 25. Because of election rules, candidates are required to formally declare before raising money. 

The invitation for the May 5 event states that donors will be put to “work,” meaning asked to raise money for DeSantis, according to a source familiar with the plan. 

Recently, Trump has ramped up his political attacks on DeSantis and maintains a significant lead in the 2024 primary, according to a new poll by Reuters/Ipsos.

Gov. DeSantis has won several high-profile conservative victories in recent months

Governor DeSantis’ insistence on not announcing his candidacy until after the Florida legislature completed its spring session rattled high-profile GOP donors who had wanted him to enter the race sooner.

In the Thursday donor call, DeSantis suggested that his ability to respond to attacks and criticism by Trump will soon change, a reference to becoming a candidate. 

The Florida governor notably didn’t mention his growing war with the Walt Disney Company during the donor call, which came on the same day Disney canceled its plans for a $1 billion new Central Florida campus.

The project was first announced in July 2021 and had been expected to relocate 2,000 jobs from California to Lake Nona, around 20 miles east of the vast Orlando Disney World complex. 

After canceling the project and saying the 2,000 workers would say in California, Disney issued a memo citing “new leadership and changing business conditions” regarding Disney CEO Bob Iger and his ongoing feud with DeSantis. 

Gov. DeSantis and his advisers hoped to use the Florida legislature’s session as a launching pad for his campaign announcement. The session ended on May 5. 

GOP lawmakers gave DeSantis several conservative victories in recent months. They included prohibiting the use of public money in sustainable investing efforts, expanding the state’s school voucher program, banning almost all abortions in the state, scrapping some diversity programs at public universities, and allowing for the permitless carrying of concealed weapons. 

The new PAC, Never Back Down, can raise unlimited funds and has been running TV ads, knocking Trump, championing DeSantis, and hiring staff in early-voting states. 

DeSantis was re-elected as governor in last year’s midterms, defeating his Democrat opponent by almost 20 percentage points.