Gov. Ron DeSantis will swing through Sarasota Friday to pick up his Statesman of the Year award.
The Republican Party of Sarasota honor has gone in past years to an array of national figures, including two-time winner and former President Donald Trump. U.S. Sen. Rick Scott has also earned the award, as have national figures like South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
The local party in August announced DeSantis as this year’s winner.
“Gov. DeSantis is the most effective and popular Governor in the United States among Republicans and we are thrilled to honor him with this award,” acting Sarasota GOP Chair Jack Brill said at the time.
The event will take place at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota. A private VIP reception will precede the event at 5:30 p.m., with a VIP reception at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. Tickets run from $200 to $500.
The award has often attracted individuals to Sarasota amid talk of presidential ambitions. DeSantis certainly has such rumors swirling about him, as he attends events around the country. But he has stressed his focus is on reelection for Governor next year, though he technically has yet to file.
The political committee Friends of Ron DeSantis raised $5.47 million in September and boasts more than $58.3 million in cash on hand.
The event in Sarasota also serves as the local party’s biggest fundraiser of the year. That’s in part thanks to a high concentration of wealthy donors who live in the coastal Sarasota community.
The Republican Party of Sarasota has become one of the most influential in Florida politics. Republican Party of Florida Chair Joe Gruters led the party for more than a decade. Sarasota County Commissioner Christian Ziegler also serves as vice chair of the state party.