A handful of Florida Democratic figures and strategists have formed a new anti-Gov. Ron DeSantis group and are pledging to begin the campaign against his reelection now, even as the Democrats search for a viable alternative.
Ron Be Gone, a 527 political organization, is being organized with former U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Coral Springs Vice Mayor Josh Simmons, former state Rep. Cindy Polo, and veteran Florida Democratic strategists Brice Barnes, Joshua Karp, and Lindsay Pollard.
The group is signaling its arrival with launch of a video that seeks to tie DeSantis to former President Donald Trump, whom the narrator calls “his role model.” The minute-plus video mixes humor and angst, characterizing DeSantis as Trump’s follower and charging that, like Trump, he holds blame for how bad the coronavirus crisis became.
“Ron DeSantis’ failure to protect Floridians during this pandemic will go down as one of the greatest catastrophes in Florida history,” Mucarsel-Powell said in a news release from the group. “I’m glad to be a part of this effort, because the stakes couldn’t be higher for Floridians.”
“For two years, Ron DeSantis has been singularly dedicated to advancing his own political career, not the interests of everyday Floridians,” Polo said in the release.
“Florida needs leadership that puts people first, not wealthy donors and special interests,” Simmons said in the release, apparently referring to the latest controversy — reports the Governor allowed wealthy neighborhoods to cut line for COVID-19 vaccines, something DeSantis has denied.
The video begins with the much-talked-about portion of one of DeSantis’ early 2018 campaign TV commercials in which he reverently reads a Trump campaign sign to his young daughter. Various images and comments follow designed to show a close relationship between Trump and DeSantis, including video of DeSantis standing beside Trump at a rally, while someone waves a QAnon sign at them. Then the tone turns dark, with images of the COVID-19 pandemic, including a flag-covered coffin, and videos of both Trump and DeSantis attacking the press for reporting on the crisis.
“It’s time to get rid of Trumpism for good,” the narrator concludes. “It’s time, Ron. Be gone.”
The organization pledges a sustained effort, running through Election Day 2022. That is to include eventually supporting whomever becomes the Democrats’ nominee, though the organization says it will not take sides before the primary.
Ron Be Gone is not the first independent anti-DeSantis group to form and make a splash.
Remove Ron, a political committee founded by Walton County lawyer and faux Grim Reaper Daniel Uhlfelder, began earlier this year. It drew attention at the CPAC conference in Orlando last month by hiring a plane to fly banners in the area around the Orlando Hyatt where the conference was held. That organization raised $53,000 last month.