GOP Senate candidate Ron DeSantis scored a major national endorsement Thursday, in the form of Dr. Ben Carson, whose name was linked with a potential Senate run weeks back.
“I am pleased to endorse Ron DeSantis for U.S. Senate. Ron is a thoughtful man of strong character and faith who has served our country in the military and who is dedicated to restoring America’s founding principles,” said Dr. Carson. “In the Senate, he will fight for the Constitution and for a strong national defense. He knows we must repeal ObamaCare, protect life and defend religious freedom. Floridians don’t need to guess if Ron DeSantis will fight to change Washington – all you have to do is look at his proven conservative record. I urge all of my supporters in Florida to do everything they can to elect him. Ron DeSantis has my vote.”
“It’s an honor to receive the support of Dr. Carson, who has inspired millions of Americans with his incomparable life story and hopeful vision for America’s future,” said DeSantis. “Dr. Carson has been a clear and consistent voice regarding the need to repeal ObamaCare and restore the Constitution. Dr. Carson’s support will magnify the fact that I’m the only candidate in this race with a proven record of standing up to the permanent political class in Washington. In Congress, I declined a pension, fought for term limits, and rejected special treatment for members of Congress under ObamaCare. In the Senate, I’ll continue to fight to make sure Washington lives under the same rules as everybody else.”
DeSantis, who faces a competitive primary to replace Marco Rubio against Carlos Lopez-Cantera, David Jolly, Carlos Beruff, and Todd Wilcox, has combined a strong fundraising operation, savvy political moves, and grassroots outreach to catapult to the first tier of the race for the GOP nomination.
Carson, however, is an especially important endorsement.
A March poll showed enthusiasm for a hypothetical Carson candidacy among a staggering 56 percent of Republican voters.
Carson, however, has disclaimed interest in a Senate run. And Thursday’s key endorsement shows that DeSantis aligns with his vision for the GOP.
Of course, DeSantis’ opponents have their own takes.
The Carson endorsement played into the ongoing back and forth between the Florida GOP Senate campaigns of Reps. David Jolly and DeSantis.
“Dr. Ben Carson says ‘Floridians don’t need to guess if Ron DeSantis will fight to change Washington.’ I’m not so sure about that, Doctor,” said Jolly’s spokesperson, Max Goodman, who also sent along a Friends of David Jolly 41 second digital ad asserting that DeSantis is “part of the problem“ in Washington D.C.
The ad begins with the stentorian voice of DeSantis addressing supporters, saying that “the difference is when you get up there, are you going to do what you say you were going to do, or are you going to drink the Kool-Aid and start to become part of the problem.”
From there, DeSantis’ voice cuts out, and a series of damning headlines that imply that the Ponte Vedra Republican has become part of the “problem.”
The ad hits DeSantis for attending the Koch Brothers’ “big money conclave in California,” for having skipped House votes to “campaign in Vegas,” for carrying the most debt in the Senate race, and for sometimes prioritizing fundraising over making votes.
The spot closes with a graphic promoting the Stop Act, authored by Jolly, which would preclude officeholders from fundraising. DeSantis, who has been the most active fundraiser on the Republican side, obviously diverges from Jolly’s position.
The video is below: