A significant number of Michigan Republican lawmakers are reportedly urging Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to run for president in 2024 – setting up a confrontation with the only declared candidate in the race: former President Donald Trump.
In December, the group of 18 state House Republicans sent a letter to DeSantis encouraging him to run for president, according to Politico. The letter was reportedly hand-delivered to the governor by Republican floor leader Rep. Bryan Posthumus. It called DeSantis ‘uniquely and exceptionally qualified to provide the leadership and competence that is, unfortunately, missing’ from President Biden, Politico reported.
The signers reportedly state they ‘stand ready and willing to help [DeSantis] win Michigan in 2024.’ Together, they represent about a quarter of the state House Republican caucus.
Zach Rudat, a spokesman for Posthumus, told Politico the floor leader ‘flew to Florida and met with the governor and a staff member to discuss the presidential election’ in December.
Fox News Digital has reached out to Posthumus for additional information. DeSantis’ office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Michigan is a prized target for Republicans and was key to Trump’s victory in 2016. He won the state’s Republican presidential primary that year and went on to defeat Hillary Clinton in the general election, becoming the first Republican to win the state since 1988.
DeSantis has not publicly said he is running for president, but his political stock is rising after winning re-election by a landslide 19-point margin last year. Already popular among Republicans for rejecting COVID-19 pandemic-related mandates and shut-downs, he has won fans among conservatives with hard-line opposition to critical race theory and teaching sexual orientation and gender identity concepts in elementary schools, and confrontations with the Biden administration on immigration.
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Prominent Republicans, including mega GOP donor Ken Griffin, the CEO of Citadel, have called for DeSantis to run for president. Not coincidentally, other prospective 2024 candidates have tested lines of attack against the Florida governor, with South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s spokesman Ian Fury criticizing DeSantis’ record on abortion recently, and New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu taking a swipe at how he’s pressured private businesses who adopt ‘woke’ positions on cultural issues in an interview with Fox News Digital.
Then of course, there is Trump, who launched unprovoked attacks on DeSantis last November, labeling him ‘Ron DeSanctimonious’ and calling him an ‘average REPUBLICAN Governor with great Public Relations,’ all the while boasting that DeSantis’ margin of victory in the midterm election was not as big as Trump’s win in Florida during the 2020 presidential election. Those attacks came as many pundits and commentators observed that Trump-backed candidates underperformed in the midterms, in contrast to DeSantis’ huge win.
While DeSantis has downplayed 2024 speculation and refrained from responding to attacks, he is set to release an autobiography this year and has spent nearly $90,000 on ads nationwide or that were targeted toward early voting states, according to spending tracker FWIW. His second inaugural address called Florida the ‘promised land of sanity’ and the place where ‘woke goes to die,’ and many observers thought it sounded like a presidential campaign speech.