DeSantis 2024: What the Proposed Change to Florida’s ‘Resign-to-Run’ Law Means

Sen. Travis Hutson of Florida has proposed changing the “resign-to-run” rule in the state so that Gov. Ron DeSantis might declare his candidacy for president without quitting as governor.

Senate Bill 7050 is a more significant piece of legislation pertaining to state elections, including the proposed amendment. If the terms overlap, it will alter the current Florida Statutes’ requirement that any public person running for federal office resign from their current state job.

Florida’s “resign-to-run” legislation would not apply to nominees for president or vice president under the proposal intended to clarify current law.

The amendment states that no candidate for President or Vice President of the U.S. shall be subject to the provisions of chapter 99, Florida Statutes, governing candidate qualification, including those provisions requiring the submission of specific documents, full and open disclosure of financial interests, petition signatures, or payment of filing fees.

Despite not making an official declaration, DeSantis is widely believed to be running for president. DeSantis is the current governor of Florida and a likely presidential candidate. Existing law requires that he submit a written resignation, but it is still being determined when this will happen.

The governor recently visited early primary states on a book tour, gave speeches nationwide, and is currently in Japan, South Korea, Israel, and the U.K. for a trade mission.

DeSantis could run for president under the proposed amendment without stepping down from his Florida governor position. Still, he would have to give up the final two years of his tenure because he is term-limited and cannot seek a third term.

In 2019, DeSantis was elected governor of Florida. He started his second four-year tenure in January. Lt. Governor Jeanette Nunez will take over as governor if he steps down.

The proposal is a comprehensive piece of legislation that seeks to alter state election regulations and will be discussed by the state Legislature on Wednesday.

In addition to the “resign-to-run” amendment, the motion also calls for strengthening the requirements for training in signature matching, outlining the responsibilities of the statewide prosecutor and the Office of Election Crimes and Security, and changing the procedures and deadlines for voter registration.

The measure also improves the data that other governmental institutions must submit for voter registration list maintenance activities and adjusts the procedures. Additionally, it outlines how candidates with the same surname competing for the same position in a general election may be set apart on the ballot. It adds a new candidate disclosure requirement for unpaid fines and fees.

The state’s “resign-to-run” legislation has been altered multiple times to assist a Florida governor. To aid then Gov. Charlie Crist, who was being considered as John McCain’s running mate in 2008, the Florida legislature overturned the statute in 2007.

The statute was reinstated in 2018 by former senator and Florida governor from 2011 to 2019 Rick Scott.

Nikki Haley, a former governor of South Carolina; Vivek Ramaswamy, a businessman from Michigan; Perry Johnson; Steve Laffey, a former mayor of Cranston, Rhode Island; and Larry Elder, a conservative radio host, are the additional five Republicans who have formally declared their candidacy for the GOP nomination.