DeSantis Takes His Act on the Road

With his growing clout among national Republicans, Ron DeSantis is taking his appeal on the road, participating in events for Senate and gubernatorial candidates in key races.

GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis, often regarded as a potential presidential candidate in 2024, is stumping for America First Republicans in Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. As a result, he’s backing candidates endorsed by another prominent figure in ’24: Donald Trump.

Later this month, the Republican governor DeSantis will host rallies with conservative education organization Turning Point Action in an effort to support the campaigns of Arizona Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters and Arizona Republican governor candidate Kari Lake; Ohio Republican Senate candidate J.D. Vance, and the Republican gubernatorial candidate for Pennsylvania, Doug Mastriano, was present at the Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Turning Point Action is billing these rallies as an effort to “unite” the Republican Party after a series of high-profile and brutal primaries that pitted Trump’s endorsed candidate against one backed by more established Republicans.

In an interview with Fox News, Charlie Kirk, founder and president of Turning Point Action said that Gov. DeSantis is America’s governor and one of the most popular leaders in the country. As a result, he has become a model for a new conservative movement that is dedicated to standing on principle and fighting for its constituents’ values.

Master and Lake will hold their first rally on Aug. 14 in Phoenix, just before the Aug. 23 primary in Florida. As a heavy favorite heading into the general election, DeSantis will face either former Republican governor Charlie Crist (D-Fla.), now a Democrat, or Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.

The fact that DeSantis is heading out-of-state rallies as his own general election campaign approaches show that his campaign team is confident in their position. It also shows that he seeks to build a national network before his expected presidential run in 2024. The governor has previously campaigned for other Republicans, including Nevada GOP Senate hopeful Adam Laxalt; the August rallies mark the first time he has been deployed for such high-profile elections.

In his handling of the pandemic, DeSantis kept Florida’s economy closed for a much shorter time than other states. In addition to being dubbed “America’s Governor” by Republicans across the country, DeSantis has held multiple out-of-state fundraisers as big-dollar donors feel out his candidacy and has been in high demand by candidates seeking to tap into some of the energy DeSantis has generated among Republican voters. DeSantis has even beaten Trump in a few straw polls, even though the former president remains wildly popular.

As the general election approaches, some Republicans consider creating distance from Trump. Republicans across the country are becoming fatigued, and some leaders are increasingly seeing DeSantis as a way to generate Trump-like energy and policy outcomes in a way that is less divisive for Republicans. His focus on culture war-type battles makes him one of the most controversial politicians for Democrats.