DeSantis piles up endorsements from GOP state lawmakers in U.S. — and this time from FL

Nearly 90% of Republicans in the FL House and Senate say the governor is their pick for president in 2024

By: - May 18, 2023 7:00 am

The Florida House of Representatives. Credit: CD Davidson-Hiers

As the official announcement of his campaign for president draws near, Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to pile up endorsements from legislative Republicans around the country.

On Wednesday the big reveal was that 99 of the 112 Republicans currently serving in the 160-member Florida Legislature announced that they are endorsing his upcoming bid for president.

That news comes a day after over 50 state representatives in New Hampshire, including that state’s House Majority Leader, Jason Osborne, announced their support for the Florida governor in the state where Republicans will host their first primary election early next year.

And last Friday, 37 Republican members from the Iowa Legislature announced their support for DeSantis, a day before he campaigned in the Hawkeye State, which will host the first GOP caucus in the country early in 2024.

Those announcements have all been issued out by Never Back Down, the federal super PAC supporting a DeSantis candidacy for president. DeSantis himself has yet to officially declare, but an announcement is likely expected to take place in the next two weeks.

“Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Legislature have worked together to achieve historic results and produce conservative victories for the people of Florida — turning the state into a beacon of freedom and the fastest growing state in the nation,” Never Back Down Communications Director Erin Perrine said in a written statement. “The widespread support from legislators in his home state underscores DeSantis’s successful and effective leadership, which should serve as a blueprint for our country. Floridians know Ron DeSantis is the fresh face of conservatism America needs, and that he will beat Joe Biden in 2024.”

Of the 28 Florida Republicans in the state Senate, 22 are listed as endorsing DeSantis for president.

Among the six Republican senators not supporting him include Joe Gruters, who has been a longtime ally of former President Donald Trump and served as the co-chair of the former president’s campaign in Florida. Gruters also has been a former chairman for the Republican Party of Florida. He represents Sarasota County and part of Manatee in the state Senate.

The other five Senate Republicans not included in the list of DeSantis’ endorsees are Miami-Dade County Illeana Garcia, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez, Vero Beach Sen. Erin Grall, Pinellas County’s Ed Hooper, and Brevard County’s Tom Wright.

There are 77 of the 84 Republicans in the Florida state House backing DeSantis for president.

As to Congress, Florida’s Republican congressional delegation is a far different story.

Only Central Florida Republican Laurel Lee, who DeSantis appointed to serve as Secretary of State in 2019 and through 2022, has officially endorsed DeSantis’ presidential aspirations.

Former president Trump has received the endorsements of 11 Florida GOP members of Congress. The other eight House members in Congress have not declared.

So far, Florida’s two GOP U.S. Senators – Marco Rubio and Rick Scott – have not endorsed any candidate in the GOP race for president.

Current GOP presidential candidates for 2024 are Trump, Nikki Haley, Tim Scott, Asa Hutchinson, and Vivek Ramaswamy. But there are other possible candidates who haven’t declared, including former Vice President Mike Pence.

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Mitch Perry
Mitch Perry

Mitch Perry has covered politics and government in Florida for more than two decades. Most recently he is the former politics reporter for Bay News 9. He has also worked at Florida Politics, Creative Loafing and WMNF Radio in Tampa. He was also part of the original staff when the Florida Phoenix was created in 2018.