Senate President Kathleen Passidomo joins House Speaker Paul Renner after the ‘Live Local Act’ bill passed on March 24, 2023 (photo credit: Mitch Perry)
Florida’s two most powerful members of the state Legislature – Senate President Kathleen Passidomo and House Speaker Paul Renner– said they will endorse Gov. Ron DeSantis for president in 2024 — if he plans to run.
DeSantis still has not announced his bid for the presidency, though he has been crisscrossing the country for months now.
Back in Florida, the joint announcement from top legislative leaders came on Tuesday, following the end of the legislative session in early May and after a regular news conference in Broward County related to bill signings.
That’s an indication that the governor is getting closer to officially declaring his candidacy for the White House.
“There is no greater vision for the future of our country than the ‘Florida Blueprint’ Governor DeSantis spearheaded over the last several years,” Passidomo said in a written statement. “Under his leadership during the pandemic, the Free State of Florida became a beacon of liberty and opportunity like never before, as families and businesses flocked from high-tax, lockdown states in search of a better way of life. Governor DeSantis is exactly the kind of leader we need for our country, and I look forward to supporting him for president.”
Renner said in his statement: “Florida Governor Ron DeSantis continues to lead the state with his bold vision, dedicated focus, and commonsense solutions to keep Florida free from a radical agenda that, unfortunately, has turned us into a country without border control, law enforcement without funding, an education system without accountability, and an economy without hope for working families trying to earn a living,” Renner said in a statement.
“Gov. DeSantis has a proven record of delivering on the pro-family, pro-economic ideals that not only will keep Florida free but will be of critical importance in a 2024 presidential election. As Gov. DeSantis makes his final decision to run for higher office, it would be my honor to endorse his candidacy for President of the United States.”
Though the top leaders will be endorsing DeSantis, if he runs, it’s not clear that all other GOP members in the Legislature may support him, given that Republicans also support former president Donald Trump for 2024.
For example, when DeSantis visited Congress recently, several GOP members came out to endorse Trump. Congresswoman Laurel Lee, thus far, is the only member of the GOP delegation in Florida to back DeSantis.
The announcement on Tuesday is not a surprise, as the two leaders helped guide many of the major legislative proposals pushed by the governor, including new restrictions on illegal immigration, expanding restrictions on instruction of gender identity and sexual orientation in K-12 schools, expanding the use of the death penalty, and a cracking down on public employee unions.
They also passed legislation ensuring that the governor would not have to step down from office after he declared his candidacy for president. Though both leaders had told reporters for months that they didn’t believe there was any reason to alter the state’s “resign to run law,” they ultimately opted to clear away any ambiguity about the law and implemented language in a major election reform bill in the last weeks of the legislative session.
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