Ron DeSantis set to announce his presidential candidacy from Dunedin — but where?
Ron DeSantis attacks the NHL for being 'woke.' Did he go too far this time?

A few possible choices jump out.

Gov. Ron DeSantis expects to announce his candidacy for President after Memorial Day and from his hometown of Dunedin — that’s according to several media outlets over the past 24 hours — but how much do people know about Dunedin?

It’s a city of about 36,000 residents, based on U.S. Census data. It’s about 90% white. There’s more females than men.

Dunedin sits in Northern Pinellas County, the more conservative part of what has been considered a politically moderate county. It has been considered one of the bellwether counties in the country when it comes to Presidential Elections. The county has voted for the winning presidential candidate in every single Presidential Election since 1976, with one exception — when George W. Bush defeated Al Gore in the 2000 recount.

So where would a presidential announcement take place in Dunedin? A couple of potential gathering spots come to mind:

The biggest and perhaps most logical location is TD Ballpark, an 8,500-seat facility that is the spring training home for the Toronto Blue Jays and the Dunedin Blue Jays, the team’s Class A minor league squad. It’s where he also practiced and played games while playing on the baseball team at Dunedin High School.

A drawback to that site of course is that as Memorial Day approaches, so does the humidity in Florida, making any outdoor events a physical challenge.

One possible indoor facility is the Conmy Center at Our Lady of Lourdes Church. It has a special events venue with a main hall that has “theatre style seating” that can accommodate 1,041 people, according to the center’s website. The church is located right next to Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School, where DeSantis received his primary education before attending his high school in Pinellas.

Doreen Saccardo, who books events at the Conmy Center, told the Phoenix that no one from the DeSantis camp has inquired about renting the facility.

Calls to Dunedin Mayor Julie Ward Bujalski and other members of the Dunedin City Commission did not respond to requests for comment.

DeSantis was actually born in Jacksonville in 1978 but moved to Dunedin in 1985. He lived there until he graduated from high school in 1997 and left the area to attend Yale University.

In his recently published memoir, DeSantis says that though he grew up in the Tampa Bay region, he relates culturally more to the Midwest.

“I was geographically raised in Tampa Bay,” DeSantis writes “The Courage to Be Free,” according to NBC News, “but culturally my upbringing reflected the working-class communities in western Pennsylvania and northeast Ohio — from weekly church attendance to the expectation that one would earn his keep. This made me God-fearing, hard-working and America-loving.”

This week in Tampa DeSantis signed five more bills into law, including a measure (HB 1438) that prohibits children from attending “adult live performances” such as drag shows.

Former Dunedin Mayor Bob Hackworth, a Democrat, notes how LGBTQ+ community businesses have been prominent in Dunedin going back to when DeSantis was growing up there, and it didn’t appear to negatively affect his upbringing.

“If you’re going to make the argument that drag shows are bad for kids, well how’d you turn out all right?” he told the Phoenix. “Going to Harvard and Yale and becoming Governor. That’s just a disingenuous argument, and like I say, he just kind of wants to ignore that as part of the narrative, and to me it just speaks to pure hypocrisy.”

Keep in mind that Joe Biden beat Donald Trump in Pinellas County in 2020 by just 1,241 votes out of 561,161 cast, a margin of 0.22 percentage points.

Hackworth says Dunedin “votes red but it doesn’t go to the extreme.” He adds that obviously some people in Dunedin like DeSantis, and some don’t. “It’s not like the whole town is crazy to have him as their hometown boy.”

DeSantis represented Florida’s 6th Congressional District from 2012-2018, which encompassed Daytona Beach and areas around the southern Jacksonville suburbs to New Smyrna Beach. He announced his 2018 campaign for Governor while appearing on “Fox & Friends.”

Where have other candidates running in 2024 announced their candidacies?

Donald Trump is a native New Yorker who has made Palm Beach his home since leaving the White House in 2021. He announced his candidacy for President last November in front of a crowd who gathered at Mar-a-Lago, his waterfront estate in Palm Beach.

Nikki Haley announced her candidacy on Valentine’s Day via a video and followed up the next day before a crowd of thousands at the Shed at the Charleston Visitors Center in Charleston, South Carolina, the state capital. She grew up in Bamberg, South Carolina, approximately 73 miles from Charleston.

Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson launched his campaign last month for President in his hometown of Bentonville, Arkansas.

Ohio entrepreneur and author Vivek Ramaswamy announced his candidacy during a live interview on Fox News and a three-and-a-half-minute video in February.

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina launched his exploratory committee for President last month, but is scheduled to officially announce his candidacy for President in his hometown of North Charleston, South Carolina on May 22.

Florida was similarly home to two Republicans who were considered to be top contenders for the nomination for President in 2015-2016: Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, both of whom lived in the Miami area.

Rubio made his campaign announcement at the Freedom Tower in downtown Miami on April 13, 2015.

Bush announced his candidacy at the Kendall campus of Miami-Dade College on June 15, 2015.

CNN reports that DeSantis will file his paperwork declaring his candidacy next Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission, with a formal announcement expected to happen from Dunedin the following week.


Mitch Perry reporting via Florida Phoenix.

Florida Phoenix is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Florida Phoenix maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Diane Rado for questions: [email protected]. Follow Florida Phoenix on Facebook and Twitter.

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Florida Phoenix is a news and opinion outlet focused on government and political news coverage within the state of Florida.


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  • Michael Mouse

    May 19, 2023 at 9:22 am

    Awwww, not gonna announce from The Partners statue in the Magic Kingdom?

    You and your ‘type’ are BANNED!

  • Dont Say FLA

    May 19, 2023 at 10:13 am

    Rhonda will announce from the smallest venue he can find so he can be embarrassed by the lowest possible number of empty seats. Come to think of it, it will probably be a no-seats venue so Rhonda can proclaim how big his crowd was, as having been “standing room only” which he will proclaim while standing on a box. Why is Rhonda so ashamed of being a Hobbit? And is that why he hates everyone?

  • Tom

    May 19, 2023 at 10:51 am

    I tend to wonder if he can even find anyone who’s not armed to attend. He wants everybody to carry but God forbid you come within a 100 years of him if you do. The rest of us just have to put up with it for the greater glory of rhonda.

  • Mercury Shampoo Ed 👍

    May 19, 2023 at 10:52 am

    What a waste of time and money. He’s cooked his goose with all the police state theatre and of course the whacko religious laws. He will be rejected at the hoop. Donald Trump is politically impotent and radioactive waste.. just taking stupid people’s money and laughing all the way to the bank.

  • PeterH

    May 19, 2023 at 11:03 am

    The GQP will need two clown buses for their candidates. Get your popcorn ready ….. the circus is coming to town!

  • Ron DeSantis wears High Heels

    May 19, 2023 at 11:43 am

    Dunedin is a pretty woke town though.
    Last time I was there I even saw a few pride flags hanging around downtown. I wonder if DeSantis will clutch his pearls when he sees that.

  • Beth

    May 20, 2023 at 7:53 am

    Does anyone care where Roly Poly Hitler will announce his candidacy? That ignorant racist sexist corrupt pig will never be president. He and his co conspirator wife need to pack up the Hitler youth and get out of our country. Surely he could get a job repressing women’s rights and destroying education with the Taliban.

Comments are closed.


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