FLORIDA, USA — We're coming off a big week in politics and we're gearing up for another.
On Tuesday, Donald Trump is expected to launch his 2024 presidential campaign. The pending announcement has many speculating if and when Florida governor Ron DeSantis will take a run at the White House.
Given his landslide victory on election night and his popularity within the Republican party, many assume it's a matter of time before the 44-year-old Florida governor and Dunedin native announces a presidential campaign.
The crowd was chanting "two more years" and "USA" inside the Tampa Convention Center last Tuesday when DeSantis addressed the crowd saying, "Thank you for honoring us with a win for the ages."
DeSantis stole the national spotlight throughout the pandemic for taking an anti-lockdown approach. In August 2020, he mandated all schools be open for in-person learning, and in August 2021, he banned school districts from enacting face mask mandates. He was sued over both executive orders and won.
DeSantis has since become a household name and grabbed the attention of America, including former President Trump.
"If Donald Trump announces next week that he's in the hunt for the presidency, he's going to come after DeSantis pretty hard because he sees him as his prime competition. If he does that, we will know where DeSantis' head is a little bit as to whether he takes the bait and engages with Trump or whether he chooses number two, to start governing the state," said political analyst Dr. Lars Hafner.
The bashing has already begun. Last week, Trump called DeSantis an "average governor" who lacks loyalty and class for refusing to rule out a 2024 run. So far, DeSantis hasn't engaged and some political analysts expect the governor to stay quiet for a while.
Susan Macmanus, a professor emerita of political science at the University of South Florida, says federal campaign laws are a lot more stringent than state campaign finance laws, which could be a factor as to why DeSantis is holding off on declaring a presidential run.
The Florida governor already has an estimated $90 million in fundraising money that he can put towards a presidential campaign, putting him ahead most any other candidate with the exception of Donald Trump.
"For someone to announce right now and have to run on that platform and pick what issues you're really going to fight for isn't the most strategic path one could take," said Macmanus noting that issue importance can change rapidly like we saw in August when abortion was the big issue but the economy and inflation had taken over by September.
"I would think DeSantis may want to wait until at least after the next legislative session so that he can work on policy to set himself up better because he doesn't have to be fundraising at this current time," said Dr. Hafner.
Macmanus adds, "That's the guessing game but in the world of politics, there's one truism and that is, timing is everything."
If Governor DeSantis does run for president, Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nunez would take over in Florida.