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A new political action committee has formed to try to recruit Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to run for president in 2024, and it’s led by a Republican consultant heavyweight who has been a veteran of campaigns involving former GOP Presidents Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump.
DeSantis, who is running for a second term as Florida governor this year, has consistently led the polls among Republican primary voters if Trump is not a candidate. However, when Trump is included in the poll, DeSantis is usually far behind.
The Ready for Ron PAC is run by two generations. Ed Rollins was Reagan’s 49-state landslide campaign chairman in 1984 and led the pro-Trump Great America PAC for the 2020 election. Political newcomer Lilian Rodríguez-Baz is an appeals attorney in Miami and conservative activist. The two teamed up to start the online petition to collect signatures encouraging DeSantis to announce a presidential election in 2024.
“We think DeSantis is a very strong candidate. He would carry on much of President Trump’s agenda effort,” Rollins told Fox News Digital.
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“Ready for Ron” registered with the Federal Elections Committee and bought an ad to draw attention to the petition. Like other PACs, under FEC rules, he is independent and cannot coordinate with DeSantis.
The Ready for Ron committee will be a resource for DeSantis supporters if or until there is an official DeSantis campaign, while also helping to build a national support infrastructure, Rollins said.
But, the veteran political consultant added that the primary is “frozen” until Trump decides whether to run again.
“As of today, he’s not a candidate,” Rollins said of Trump. “He didn’t do anything about the Federal Election Commission. He didn’t declare himself a candidate. … Which I support, just like we did four years ago for him with the Great America PAC, it’s that there are elements to a presidential campaign, organizing the grassroots, that sort of thing, that needs to be done.”
Rollins later added, “I don’t think they will run against each other,” from Trump and DeSantis.
DeSantis is being tested like few other candidates would enter a presidential race, Rodríguez-Baz said, as he faced attacks from Democrats and the media.
“Take a look at his COVID strategy, his overall culture war initiatives. We as Floridians have grown to admire DeSantis based on the fact that he doesn’t capitulate to the pressures of the woke crowd,” said Rodríguez-Baz at Fox News. Digital.
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“That quality of Ron DeSantis is that he is constantly out of step with his detractors,” she later added. “He’s not easily manipulated. He constantly pushes back regardless of the consequences because his mantra is to fight for freedom and do what’s right, I think that’s what qualifies him above all else. That’s why we think it’s going to be so successful.”
FEC regulations state that an “editorial committee is a political committee established solely to recruit an individual or to encourage that individual to become a candidate for federal office.”
The Ready for Ron band is not affiliated with DeSantis. However, the group has asked the FEC for an advisory opinion to share its list of supporters with DeSantis’ potential campaign if the project is successful and he announces his candidacy. Conversely, if DeSantis doesn’t run, the group asked the FEC if they could share the slate with the eventual Republican presidential nominee.
“There are going to be hundreds of thousands, if not millions of signatures. That’s our hope here,” Rodríguez-Baz said. “We would like to share this list of signatories with Ron DeSantis. If Ron DeSantis decides not to run in 2024, we also ask the FEC to issue an opinion regarding the legality of giving this list of signatories to the person ending ultimately be the Republican nominee in 2024.”
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Comparing DeSantis to Reagan, Rollins said a governor running Florida or California — states with big problems and a big media presence — wouldn’t need any training for the presidency.
“Governors tend to be better presidents because they understand what you need to put into the governance process,” Rollins said. “Governors are like mini-presidents in a way. In my opinion, we have an amazing cast of Republican governors today, and I think DeSantis has come to the fore.”