In his statement to Fox News, DeSantis highlighted the accomplishments of his first term in office. He said he has “delivered on all fronts: Florida’s economy is strong, we’ve boosted teacher pay, made historic investments in Everglades restoration and water quality, signed strong election integrity legislation, provided unparalleled support for law enforcement and appointed strong constitutionalists to our state courts.”
“I also protected individual Floridians and small businesses by keeping Florida open and stood up for students and parents by ensuring schools provided in-person instruction and by championing the rights of parents,” he added. “We’ve also taken on Big Tech censorship, banned sanctuary cities, ensured that municipalities cannot defund law enforcement and stood up to the Biden regime.”
In his management of the pandemic at the state level, DeSantis earned a reputation for confronting and defending against federal encroachment. He prohibited mask and vaccine mandates in public institutions, specifically in Florida school systems, despite resistance and retaliation from the Biden administration. Amid intense backlash from media outlets over his exercise of authority to achieve conservative policy outcomes, DeSantis’ support among constituents has remained strong.
While momentum for DeSantis to be a 2024 contender is building, to be well positioned as a national candidate, he must secure reelection in Florida. An August poll conducted by BUSR/Susquehanna Polling and Research showed the incumbent governor leading Democratic challengers Charlie Crist and Nikki Fried by three points and ten points, respectively, in hypothetical gubernatorial matchups.
“And I’ve only just begun to fight,” DeSantis continued.
In the GOP gubernatorial field in Florida, the only competition so far is John Joseph Mercadante, who ran for governor in 2018 but was bested by DeSantis in the primary.
As of Friday, Florida Republicans officially outnumbered registered Florida Democrats for the first time in state’s history, according to the Tampa Bay Times. This trend was likely solidified by the massive demographic shifts and voter migration from the Northeast to the Sunbelt over the last year and a half.
At the National Conference of State Legislatures on Friday, DeSantis said: “Today for the first time in the history of Florida we’ve now overtaken Democrats.”