Florida’s new Republican supermajority in the Legislature could open the door for Gov. Ron DeSantis to stay on as Governor if he decides to run for President.
Florida law says officials must resign their office when running for a new one. However, when it comes to the presidency, there are questions about when that resignation must occur.
Asked by reporters on Tuesday, new House Speaker Paul Renner said it was a “good idea” for the Legislature to alter Florida’s “resign-to-run” law to allow officials to keep their current seat while seeking federal office. For DeSantis, who is considered a leading contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, it could be a gift if he runs for President and fails.
Renner said the House would look at election law in general. But on resign-to-run, he made his position clear.
“You will find me to always try to hone toward being principled and consistent,” Renner said. “This is one area that, going back in history — you don’t have to go very far on a kind of two-second Google search — we’ve been totally inconsistent on. If you think that’s based on anything in your hypothetical, you would be right, and I’ll be very open and transparent about that.”
Renner shared his thoughts following Tuesday’s Organization Session, in which the House formally elected him as Speaker. Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, who was also named to her new position in her own ceremony, seconded Renner’s opinion.
“If Speaker Renner thinks it’s a good idea,” Passidomo said in jest, “I think it’s a good idea.’
“When you think about it, if an individual who is from Florida, who is a Florida Governor is running for President, I think he should run and do it. I really do.”
Lawmakers loosened Florida’s resign-to-run law when former Gov. Charlie Crist was in the running to share the ticket with Arizona U.S. Republican Sen. John McCain during the latter’s 2008 presidential run. However, the Legislature reverted it in 2010 after then-Gov. Rick Scott took office.
Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez would succeed DeSantis if he resigned for any reason.
While DeSantis has denied any intention of running for President, there is widespread speculation he will capitalize on his national profile and challenge former President Donald Trump for the nomination. Calls for him to run have increased since many conservative leaders have blamed Trump for the GOP’s underwhelming Midterm performance.
Statewide polling across the country shows DeSantis surging in a potential Primary matchup. Days after the election, Trump savaged DeSantis as an “average Republican Governor” in a widely circulated statement.