The Democratic Governors Association (DGA) is of the belief that Republican governor Ron DeSantis stands little chance of losing in 2022, and may therefore withhold financial investment in Florida next year, per Politico.
There is a sense, two anonymous Florida Democratic consultants in communication with the DGA told Politico, that the party is losing viability in Florida, a longtime battleground state that some believe is evolving into a Republican bulwark. With the DGA spending over $15 million in Florida over the past two gubernatorial election cycles, supporting Democratic candidates in the state has come at great cost and with no meaningful returns, causing some to argue that such resources would be better used defending Democratic governors in vulnerable states such as Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.
“I do think, and I can’t stress this enough, the DGA is playing mostly defense this year, and that’s a monumental change,” Jonathan Ducote, a Democratic consultant with previous experience working with the DGA, told Politico. “When I think about Florida statewide elections, the number one thing you have to ask yourself is do you have the money to communicate in a really expensive state?”
Given that the GOP has rallied around DeSantis, who is sitting on a reserve of campaign funds, the DGA is likely to reduce its financial focus on Florida leading up to 2022, another source who has been in contact with the organization said.
“I spoke to them two weeks ago. We had a pretty candid conversation. DeSantis is looking strong politically and financially, and there are states like Massachusetts, Maryland and Arizona where they see potential pickups on top of incumbent protection,” the anonymous consultant revealed to Politico. “They might do some money, but they are not going the way they have been in the past. There are not going to be multi-million-dollar checks.”
Despite the criticism he’s received from Democrats and many in the media for his management of the pandemic, DeSantis has achieved superstar status in the GOP for his proactive approach to policymaking, and resistance to federal overreach. As a result, DeSantis has already gained traction as a potential contender in the 2024 Republican presidential primary..
“Let me tell you how the DGA works,” an anonymous DGA staffer told Politico. “First, it’s incumbent protection, and there is a bunch of that this year. Then they look at open seats, then they look at challenging incumbents, and DeSantis isn’t the easiest incumbent to challenge.”
Since the GOP outperformed expectations across the country on Tuesday — winning all three statewide offices on the ballot in Virginia and nearly ousting a Democratic governor in New Jersey — many have suggested that 2022 could bring more of the same.