DeSantis Coasts to Re-Election, Setting Stage for 2024 Bid

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Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis soundly won re-election on Tuesday night, according to the Associated Press, positioning him for potential national ambitions or a future bid for the presidency.

DeSantis faced Democrat Charlie Crist, who himself served as a Republican Governor of Florida from 2007 until 2011. (He became a Democrat in 2012.)

Governor Ron DeSantis speaks during rally in Miami, Nov. 7, 2022.
Governor Ron DeSantis speaks during a rally in Miami, Nov. 7, 2022.Andres Kudacki for TIME

A rising star in the GOP, DeSantis defined his first term as governor with resistance to pandemic-era restrictions and brash right-wing stances on America’s culture wars. His funding vastly outpaced Crist’s, and he focused his campaign on criticizing Democrats for what he described as the “woke agenda.” Widely considered to be a future Republican presidential contender, the conservative firebrand made headlines this year for his stances on LGBTQ issues, handling of immigration policy, and investigations into alleged voter fraud. He repeatedly drew liberal ire and swallowed media cycle after media cycle, leaving Crist and his moderate approach largely ignored.

While he’s been re-elected to another four years in office, it remains unclear if he’ll serve all of them—in a recent debate DeSantis, 44, did not answer when Crist pressed him to commit to a full four-year term rather than run for President in 2024. Former President Donald Trump, a registered Florida voter who is also mulling a presidential bid, told reporters on Tuesday that he had voted for DeSantis’ re-election, although he had mocked the governor at a rally just days before, potentially teeing up the primary dynamics for next cycle.

Signs for Governor Ron DeSantis are seen near the John F. Kennedy Library in Hialeah, Florida, Nov. 8, 2022. Andres Kudacki for TIME
Signs for Governor Ron DeSantis are seen near a polling site at the John F. Kennedy Library in Hialeah, Florida, Nov. 8, 2022.Andres Kudacki for TIME

In September, DeSantis found himself in the national spotlight once again for spending taxpayer dollars to relocate about 50 migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard—a move that came as a shock to the Martha’s Vineyard community who didn’t initially know who sent them. DeSantis has continued to defend the stunt, describing it as an advertisement that undocumented immigrants aren’t welcome in Florida.

“I’ve got enough refugees coming in from blue states fleeing that bad policy,” DeSantis joked at an event this weekend, according to the news site Florida Politics.

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