‘Put up or shut up:’ Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gets ready to decide 2024 presidential plans

Florida Gov. and potential 2024 presidential candidate Ron DeSantis

Florida Gov. and potential 2024 presidential candidate Ron DeSantis

WASHINGTON – The Ron DeSantis presidential announcement watch is on high alert these days.

Florida Gov. DeSantis completes a series of state trips this weekend with visits to Illinois and Iowa, and he has hinted that he could be approaching an announcement on his 2024 plans sometime before June.

“We’ll get on that relatively soon,” DeSantis said when the Florida legislature formally ended its session last week. “You either got to put up or shut up on that.”

Playing in Peoria

The Friday event is a Lincoln Day Dinner jointly sponsored by the Peoria and Tazewell county GOP parties in Illinois.

On Saturday, DeSantis is scheduled to appear at Republican events and fundraisers in Sioux Center and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, home of the first caucuses of the nominating season.

Trump attacks

DeSantis ponders the race at a time when he has fallen further behind former President Donald Trump in early polls for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. This despite the fact that Trump has been indicted by a New York City grand jury over hush money payments and found liable by a New York City jury for sexual abuse of writer E. Jean Carroll in 1996.

Trump and allies have spent months attacking DeSantis and his political record. On Friday, Trump released a video crowing about endorsements from Florida congressional members who picked him over their governor, DeSantis.

‘Thin skin’

Trump and other Republican presidential candidates have also hammered DeSantis over his lawsuit with his state’s most prominent employer, Disney.

In a salvo this week, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said DeSantis went after Disney because it criticized education policies.

She told the “America 180 with David Brody” podcast: “He passed the largest corporate subsidies in Florida history for Disney and Florida right before this, so suddenly they criticize you and you’re gonna have thin skin and do a lawsuit that costs taxpayer dollars.”

Money, money, money

DeSantis would not be without advantages in a race against Trump, especially when it comes to money.

The governor recently nixed his connection to his long-time state political committee, a group with millions of dollars that it can now pass on to organizations backing a DeSantis presidency candidacy.

When you add it all up, including the state committee and federal PACs, DeSantis has more cash than Trump, reported USA TODAY – about $116 million to Trump’s $86.1 million.

State trips

All told, the Florida governor has raised some $4.3 million for state and local Republican Party organizations in recent months, according to a statement from his political office. He has appeared at 10 state and local GOP events in eight states since the start of March, drawing more than 10,000 attendees.

The trips have included big states (California and Texas), states that are general election battlegrounds (Wisconsin and Michigan) and states that are holding early Republican delegate contests (Iowa and New Hampshire).

The DeSantis pre-presidential tour also included a foreign trip.

Throughout his travels, DeSantis has said he will make some sort of announcement about 2024 after the end of the Florida Legislature session. The session formally adjourned last week, though DeSantis still has upcoming bill signings, including the state budget.

Speaking with reporters after the adjournment, DeSantis blew off questions about whether he would be starting a 2024 campaign too late.

It is “just not something that I worry about,” he said.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Ron DeSantis prepares to decide on 2024 presidential plans

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