JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Governor Ron DeSantis has officially been a candidate for just two days and his campaign is already taking shape.
DeSantis is finally beginning to swing back at his main rival and the shaky kickoff to his campaign, doesn’t appear to have slowed down donations to his campaign.
Within the first 24 hours of his candidacy, DeSantis’ campaign raised $8.2 million.
The campaign is even merchandizing off the technical glitches experienced during his virtual announcement, selling “DeSantis Breaks Systems” shirts.
And after months of avoiding the elephant in the room – former President Donald Trump – DeSantis started going on the offensive, taking jabs at his former ally during radio interviews Thursday.
“I mean I think he did great for three years, but when he turned the country over to Fauci in March of 2020, that destroyed millions of people’s lives,” said DeSantis appearing on the Glenn Beck Program.
UNF political science professor Dr. Michael Binder argued DeSantis does have to start contrasting himself with Trump, but he’ll have to tread lightly.
“If he gets into trying to throw mud at Donald Trump, we’ve seen that go down in the past and it hasn’t gone well for the candidates that try to do that,” said Binder.
The former President chalked up a win Thursday, scoring the endorsement of a 12th Florida Republican US Representative.
Congressman Mike Waltz (R-FL 6th District) endorsed Trump earlier in the race.
He told Action News Jax this week he expects the race will be hard fought, but his decision came down to Trump’s policy achievements.
“And heck, I’ll take another four years of President Trump and then eight years of DeSantis,” said Waltz.
On Truth Social, Trump posted a series of videos hitting DeSantis over poll numbers, COVID response and electability.
“Rob DeSanctimonious and his poll numbers are dropping like a rock,” said Trump in one of the videos.
Binder said Trump’s attacks are on-brand and if they prove effective, they could make that 30-point lead he currently holds insurmountable.
“Trump has that unique ability to take what might be a policy issue or a personal quirk, and turn it into this cultural phenomenon. And if he can do that to DeSantis it’s gonna be very difficult for him to overcome,” said Binder.
There’s obviously a very longways to go in this race.
DeSantis held his first public appearance since entering the race at a homeschooling convention in Orlando Friday morning.
He’s schedule to appear in Iowa next week, in what his campaign is calling the official ‘campaign kickoff’.
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