Gov. Ron DeSantis PHOTO OCURTESY OF RONDESANTIS FACEBOOK
MIAMI – Despite becoming a political lightning rod for criticism by Black Republicans, the LGBQT community, immigrants and pro-abortion women for his legislation targeting the groups and trailing as much as by 39 points in the polls, Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis could still emerge as the GOP Primary front runner for the White House.
According to a Harris-Messenger poll, with former President and DeSantis’ chief rival Donald Trump facing four indictments including an effort to overturn the 2020 Presidential election results in Georgia, some Republicans suggest a Trump nomination could bring steep down-ballot losses for the GOP in their efforts to defeat President Biden in 2024.
In another poll conducted by young Republicans in Florida from ages 18 to 31, 67 percent suggested Trump shouldn’t run because of his legal issues and the GOP should shift its focus to either DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence or U.S. Senator Tim Smith from South Carolina.
Thirty-three percent of young Republicans say Trump should stay in the race because he poses a tougher challenge to Biden since he won Florida in 2020 with 51.2 percent
DeSantis, who beat Democratic Congressman Charlie Crist by 1 million votes in last year’s Florida gubernatorial race, trails Trump in Iowa, California, South Carolina, Nevada, Texas and other battleground states by 37 points despite rebooting his struggling campaign for the U.S. Presidency.
Trump led by 39 points in Mississippi for the state’s GOP Primary in 2024.
In New Hampshire, DeSantis was tied for second place for the GOP nomination with former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley.
Several polls conducted this year have repeatedly indicated that a majority of voters don’t want either Trump or President Joe Biden to run in 2024.
Sixty percent of respondents nationwide in another Harris Messenger poll said they didn’t want Trump to run, as did 70 percent of respondents (and 44 percent of Republicans) in an April poll by the Associated Press and the University of Chicago NORC.
That could open the door for DeSantis to pick up the GOP nomination.
Before DeSantis ofﬁcially announced his candidacy to run for president, he reportedly was not getting support from some Republican lawmakers who questioned him on his political strategy, policy stances and personal touch.
But in August, several House Republicans commended DeSantis for reshaping Florida with his S.T.O.P. Woke Act in schools and businesses, reopening Florida during COVID-19 restrictions and flying migrants to Martha’s Vineyards, Massachusetts and California.
“I think he’s done a hell of a job as governor of Florida,” said Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, who was the House GOP campaign chief when DeSantis ﬁrst won election to Congress in 2012.
But DeSantis is facing backlash from the majority of Black Republicans in Congress for the new Florida public schools curriculum for African-American history that teaches students Black people beneﬁted from slavery because it taught them job skills.
“As a country founded upon freedom, the greatest deprivation of freedom was slavery. There is no silver lining in slavery,” Scott told reporters before a forum in Iowa.
And Rep. Byron Donalds, a Republican from Florida who has also endorsed Trump, called on the Florida state Education Department to “correct” the new standards.
The 15-week abortion ban, which is currently being argued in the Florida Supreme Court, imposed by DeSantis and his GOP allies makes him a least favorite candidate among women.
If the Supreme Court upholds the ban, the stricter six-week ban signed into law by DeSantis in April, would automatically take effect about a month after the court’s decision.
“The devastating 15-week ban has been in effect for more than a year, in deﬁance of four decades of well-established protections under the Florida Constitution” said Whitney White, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which ﬁled the lawsuit along with Planned Parenthood. “Not satisﬁed with that, the state has now asked the court to wipe out any constitutional protection for Floridians’ ability to have an abortion at all, clearing the way for Florida to enforce Gov. DeSantis’ ban on abortion at six weeks of pregnancy, a time when many people don’t even know they are pregnant. The Florida Supreme Court should respect the rule of law and protect the right of people to make personal medical decisions during pregnancy for themselves.”
During an interview on Fox News, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Florida was “sympathetic” to expectant mothers mulling abortion, and that the fathers of the unborn children should pay child support to the mothers.
“Most of these women do not want to have abortions, but they feel like they have no other options because they get no support. And that’s because a lot of these men are nowhere to be found,” De-
Santis said. “They should absolutely be providing support,” DeSantis added. “They should absolutely be held accountable.”
Florida’s sweeping immigration legislation including penalizing companies with more than 25 workers for employing undocumented immigrants is impacting the state’s workforce for agriculture, restaurant, construction and other industries.
DeSantis signed the bill into law in May in response to anticipated growth in immigration activity at the border following the end of Title 42 restrictions on border entry that were implemented during the pandemic.
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Florida was already experiencing a worker shortage before the immigration bill went into effect with 55 workers per 100 open jobs.
The bill now makes it even harder to ﬁll positions and businesses must ﬁnd other options to ﬁnd workers and stay efﬁcient.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Sheila CherﬁlusMcCormick, who represents portions of Broward and Palm Beach Counties and a Haitian immigrant, said the new immigration law is disheartening for immigrants who came to the U.S. for a brighter future.
“Florida’s new immigration law is deeply unsettling for communities across the state,” said Cherﬁlus-McCormick. “This law is especially cruel to those who came to South Florida to flee violence and seek a better life.”
Regardless of who wins the GOP nomination for the presidency, the Democrats are preparing for the challenge against Biden.
Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikkin Fried said the organization is investing over $1 million in voter registration drives statewide.