Florida governor Ron DeSantis hits campaign trail for midterm candidates in battleground states
FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will campaign for several GOP candidates in key battleground races, including J.D. Vance and Kari Lake, respectively the Republican nominees in Ohio’s Senate race and Arizona’s gubernatorial contest.
Mr. DeSantis will appear at two “Unite and Win” rallies sponsored by Turning Point Action, a pro-Trump conservative group that targets Democrats.
The Florida governor’s appearance comes amid his own rising national profile and speculation he is eyeing a 2024 presidential bid that could put him on course for a potential clash with Mr. Trump, who has strongly hinted he will launch another White House campaign.
Turning Point Action President Charlie Kirk called Mr. DeSantis “America’s governor,” and “one of the most popular leaders in the country.”
Mr. DeSantis has gained popularity among conservatives by rejecting COVID lockdowns and mandates and signing laws banning “woke” classroom instruction and corporate training. He is often publicly critical of the Biden administration.
The Florida governor’s decision to campaign for Ms. Lake, Mr. Vance and the other contenders “tells you everything you need to know about these incredible candidates,” Mr. Kirk said.
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Mr. DeSantis is in the middle of his own reelection campaign for a second term as governor, but enjoys a comfortable lead in the polls over his likely Democratic opponent, Charlie Crist, freeing up time for him to expand his national profile by campaigning in other states.
On Sunday, Mr. DeSantis will appear at a rally in New Mexico for Republicans Mark Ronchetti and Yvette Herrell, who are running for governor and Congress, respectively.
He’ll take the stage later that day at a rally in Phoenix for Ms. Lake and Republican Blake Masters, who is challenging incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly’s reelection bid.
On Aug. 19, Mr. DeSantis will appear at a rally for Doug Mastriano, who is running for Pennsylvania governor.
The state’s other top GOP candidate, celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz, who is running for the U.S. Senate and is trailing Democratic opponent John Fetterman, is not listed to appear at the rally. Mr. Oz is endorsed by Mr. Trump, but many conservatives see him as too moderate.
The Florida governor will later in the day hold a rally for Mr. Vance, another Republican aided by Mr. Trump’s endorsement who has been out-raised by his Democratic opponent, Rep. Tim Ryan, and who trails Mr. Ryan in polling conducted by pro-Ryan groups.
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The GOP candidates began touting Mr. DeSantis’ support on Monday.
Mr. Masters took to Twitter to criticize Mr. Kelly over illegal immigration along Arizona’s southern border.
“By contrast, look at everything Ron DeSantis has done to keep Florida strong, safe, and free,” Mr. Masters said. “Looking forward to welcoming Gov. DeSantis to Phoenix on Sunday.”