Florida pols react to launch of Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign
Ron DeSantis. Image via AP.

Allies and critics all have something to say.

The formal launch of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign is prompting reactions from allies and critics alike.

A sample of those reactions is below.

Former President Donald Trump: “I got 1.2 Million more votes in Florida than DeSanctus. Also, Bill Hemmer at FoxNews just used an old April Poll showing me leading by 51% to 25%. Why doesn’t Fox get a more up to date poll, 72% to 18%, with the other candidates much lower. Just like 2016!!! It’s why people are leaving FoxNews. P.S. Without me, DeSanctus would have lost the Primary and the General. Thank you President Trump!”

U.S. Rep. Laurel Lee, a Thonotosassa Republican: “Congratulations on a historic presidential launch Ron DeSantis! There’s no question that you’re going to be a transformative leader for our national party and our country. I can’t wait for America’s Governor to become America’s next President!”

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Weston Democrat: ““Ron DeSantis is an extremist whose dangerous and discriminatory policies have been a disaster for Florida. Under his oppressive and cruel direction, Florida’s voting rights are gutted, women’s rights are dismantled, books are banned, and LGBTQ people are being erased. His tyrannical ways of using division and prejudice must never venture beyond the Florida line. It is our job to let the whole country know that Ron DeSantis is a vindictive and malicious ideologue who only panders to his base of extremists. We cannot and will not let him re-write America’s history and push his politics of distortion, bigotry, and fear on the American people. His announcement is the beginning of the end of his career of persecution, discrimination, and vengefulness.”

Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez: “He’s a great Governor and an even better man. He is guided by his convictions and principles. He does not waiver in the face of adversity …Now America needs him. That is why I’m honored to unequivocally endorse Ron DeSantis for President.”

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody: “Ron DeSantis has proven he has the commitment, character, and courage necessary to restore hope and reignite the American dream. I’m honored to endorse him to be the next President of the United States as he leads ‘Our Great American Comeback!'”

State Sen. Danny Burgess, a Zephyrhills Republican: “Proud to stand with America’s Governor Ron DeSantis as he seeks to get our country back on track by using the common sense, conservative blueprint Florida has laid out over these past 4+ years.”

State Sen. Jay Collins, a Tampa Republican: “Proud to stand with America’s Governor, Ron DeSantis. He’s a proven leader and the right man to lead our Great American Comeback.”

State Sen. Nick DiCeglie, an Indian Rocks Beach Republican: “Floridians know how hard Governor DeSantis fought for our freedoms, and we trust his leadership because he’s proven to deliver results. That’s why I’m very proud to endorse Ron DeSantis for the Republican presidential nomination!”

State Sen. Ileana Garcia, a Miami Republican: “I want to congratulate my Gov. Ron DeSantis on his bid to run for President. That said, I’d also like to add that I am incredibly proud that Donald Trump is still in the race. One thing President Biden has done well is vindicate what a great President Trump is. It’s also refreshing to see Vivek Ramaswamy participate; he brings other perspectives and revitalizes the playing field. As a proud Hispanic-American, not a Republican, I’d ask that we keep it about the issues, the causes, and the people. Too often, genuinely relevant problems get lost in the weeds with the attacks. It becomes about clickbait headlines and big-ticket invoices for greedy political strategists. We must not lose sight of our derailed economy, healthcare, safety, and civil liberties. Neither one of these candidates is the enemy. The threat is the current President, that has betrayed us and set us up for failure not just nationally but globally. I think we can all agree on that.”

State Sen. Joe Gruters, a Sarasota Republican: “The governor has a bright future but the need for President Trump should trump any political ambition as we work to restore America’s greatness. President Trump got the job done before and he’ll do it again on behalf of all Americans.”

State Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, a Spring Hill Republican: “Governor Ron DeSantis literally broke something the world’s greatest engineer built. Can’t wait for him to break the swamp that is DC.”

State Sen. Shevrin Jones, a Miami Gardens Democrat: “Take it from the Floridians who know him best: Ron DeSantis is just as much of a danger to our democracy, country, and shared future as the indicted former President.  DeSantis heralds his extremist agenda as a ‘blueprint’ for the rest of the country and claims he wants to keep the government out of people’s lives, and yet, as Governor, he’s mounted an all-out assault on Floridians’ most fundamental rights and freedoms.  The governor’s ‘Florida Blueprint’ has been a disaster for everyday Floridians as he has staked his political rise on eroding our right to privacy, attacking the LGBTQ community, emboldening white supremacist hate groups, making it harder for people to vote, gutting Social Security and Medicare – all in an attempt to further marginalize the already vulnerable.  How is Florida ‘more free’ when politicians are regulating our bodies, bedrooms, and bookshelves?  What kind of blueprint for the nation is it when Florida, once considered the ideal for retirees in their golden years, according to AARP, ranks dead last in the country for long-term care for elderly people? Rather than pursuing solutions to the property insurance crisis that is pricing people out of the state and forcing many to dip into their retirement funds just to stay afloat, DeSantis has put his own ambition over responding to the needs of Floridians at every turn. Try as he might to portray himself as ‘MAGA without the mess,’ it’s clear Ron DeSantis belongs nowhere near 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.”

State Sen. Debbie Mayfield, a Rockledge Republican: “As a proven leader in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis will champion limited government, secure our borders, and support our brave military. He will protect our individual freedoms, and we can expect a renewed focus on American exceptionalism and a prosperous future for all.”

State House Democratic Leader Fentrice Driskell: “How can Ron DeSantis expect to be our nation’s President after he’s failed Florida? He’s leaving behind a state where he stoked division, ignored families’ problems, and focused his energies on his own ambition. This man does not embody the characteristics we need in a President. He’s a temperamental bully, who punches down on those who dare to disagree with him. Not surprisingly, America doesn’t seem to be buying what he’s selling. His polling numbers have declined in recent weeks as people have gotten to know who he really is. They’ve seen him sign an extremist abortion ban, pushed a soft-on-crime permitless carry law, and picked a bizarre fight with Disney that hardly anyone cares about. Despite his announcement’s technical problems, today was historic: Ron DeSantis’ relentless ambition has pushed him to declare his intention to be the second-place finisher in the GOP primary for President of the United States of America.”

State Rep. Adam Botana, a Bonita Springs Republican: “All in with Gov. Ron DeSantis!!!”

State Rep. Anna Eskamani, an Orlando Democrat: “Governor Ron DeSantis is an extremist who preaches about freedom while he strips away our freedoms as Floridians. Whether it’s the 6 week abortion ban, the targeting of LGBTQ+ people, the attacks on academic freedom, union busting or the weakening of gun laws and consumer protections, DeSantis does not care about the needs of everyday people and Americans should reject him as a candidate for President.”

State Rep. Angie Nixon, a Jacksonville Democrat: “America, Governor Ron DeSantis is a tantrum-throwing bully who threatens our ability to live our lives free from tyranny and oppression. He’s bought and paid for by the wealthy corporate elites while he sacrifices the health, safety, livelihoods, and futures of all Floridians. Ron DeSantis has relentlessly attacked our freedoms, signing a near-total abortion ban, implementing permitless carry of hidden, loaded guns that makes us less safe, and enforcing unconstitutional laws that are costing Floridians millions to defend in court. This is a warning for all Americans: do not trust Ron DeSantis because he’ll always do what’s best for his own political career while the people get left further behind. And while Americans of all races, places, and backgrounds value our fundamental freedoms, Ron DeSantis will take all that we hold dear if it means taking another step up the political ladder.”

Former state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, an Orlando Democrat: “Ron DeSantis relentlessly attacked my LGBTQ family and cost our region $1 BILLION economic development deal with his crazy. His culture wars ruined people’s lives and caused lasting damage to our local economy. Our fight to take Florida back from extremists is beyond personal.”

Jasmine Burney-Clark, founder of Equal Ground: “For nearly five years, Ron DeSantis has run the state of Florida into the ground. From racist attacks against Black and Brown Floridians, to culture wars waged on our LGBTQ+ community, the only people Ron DeSantis will accept in his America is the straight white man. As Black Floridians we have seen first-hand the hate and vitriol that he spews against minorities and how at every turn he has worked to undo our rights and dismantle our democracy. There is no way to sugarcoat it, Ron DeSantis will destroy America. That is not hyperbole or subjective. America thrives when all people — Black, Brown, gay, straight, religious, non-religious — have the power to survive and be heard. Everything is on the line in 2024. We are fighting for our democracy and for the lives of Americans we continue to lose at the hands of Republican inaction. Don’t be fooled, all Ron DeSantis knows how to do is silence those who dissent, and history has shown us that is how countries fail.”

Marjorie Dannenfelser, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America president: “Ron DeSantis has continually delivered for the people of Florida, transforming the Sunshine State from a late-term abortion haven to one of the best states in the nation for unborn children and mothers. His record proves that going on offense works to defeat pro-abortion extremists, and he does not back down from a worthy fight, whether it is standing up for parents’ right to protect their children or safeguarding unborn babies when their hearts are beating and when they can feel pain. In the 2024 presidential contest, it is critical that pro-life candidates show bold leadership and lay out a clear policy platform in contrast to their opponents who support abortion on demand up until birth, paid for by taxpayers. The pro-life movement is looking for a national defender of life who will proudly advocate a minimum national standard to protect unborn children from painful abortions at least by 15 weeks — a standard backed by 72% of Americans — and who will work tirelessly to build consensus and gather the votes necessary in Congress. We look forward to DeSantis and all contenders further outlining their pro-life vision and platform as the primary unfolds.”

Erick Erickson, Republican commentator: “It appears more and more that the DeSantis team laid a trap for the Trump team, and the Trump team fell into it. By letting Trump set an anti-DeSantis narrative in the press over the last two months, DeSantis saw Trump’s oppo revealed and gets to pivot around it out of the gate.”

Jaime Harrison, Democratic National Committee Chair: ““Ron DeSantis has pushed an extreme MAGA agenda focused on ripping Floridians’ freedoms away and now he wants to take that agenda nationwide. DeSantis got his start as a co-founder of the ultra-right wing House Freedom Caucus where he supported Paul Ryan’s plan to end Medicare and Social Security as we know it, voted for national abortion bans, worked to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and supported Donald Trump’s tax giveaways to the biggest corporations. Now, as Floridians suffer under some of the highest housing and health care costs in the nation, DeSantis has tripled down on a MAGA agenda – including banning abortion, making it easier for criminals to carry guns, signing laws that allowed book bans, parroting Putin’s talking points, and bailing out huge corporations while Florida families foot the bill. If there was any doubt – DeSantis’s announcement turns up the volume on an already messy Republican primary. One thing is guaranteed – whoever makes it out will only have done so by catering to the most MAGA, right-wing Republicans in the primary.”

Daniel Kuether, Sarasota County Democratic Party Chair: “Gov. Ron DeSantis’ run for President of the United States should frighten all Americans. His war on freedom here in Florida is part of a larger plan he hopes to implement nationwide. This MAGA extremist agenda has attacked our schools, our access to healthcare, and fundamental human rights to boost his own ego. In addition, the Governor’s inability to lead Florida through the ongoing property insurance crisis and his squabble with The Walt Disney Company proves he is inept and ill-fitted for leading our great nation.”

Marcos Vilar, Alianza for Progress executive director: “Since DeSantis has taken office, our freedoms have been under an all-out assault and Florida has become a hostile and dangerous environment. We’ve seen what he has done as Governor by passing anti-democratic laws that infringe on our basic human and democratic rights and he will do the same as President. Instead of protecting constituents in his state, DeSantis has only been concerned with pushing his power-hungry, right-wing extremist agenda. We saw the deadly effects of this during the last presidential election and it’s sad to see how Twitter has chosen to amplify his platform. DeSantis does not represent our American values of freedom  – our freedom to vote, freedom to make personal decisions affecting our lives, our health and our families. He does not represent the Christian and humanist values my parents raised me with. Our democracy is already in crisis and we can’t afford to have DeSantis as our nation’s leader. We deserve to have a say in decisions that affect our lives, and to be fairly represented by elected officials who are responsive to our needs, who reflect and understand our diverse interests and who can work to restore faith in our democracy. We must come together at this critical moment to ensure DeSantis’ presidential run is unsuccessful, and to unseat him as Florida’s Governor.”

Rick Wilson, The Lincoln Project co-founder: “Well good morning Mr. and Mrs. America, and all the ships at sea. Today is the day Ron DeSantis emerges from his cocoon, blossoms into a beautiful butterfly, flutters around the forests of Elon, and then is eaten by a giant buzzard named Donald Trump.”

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Dont Say FLA

    May 24, 2023 at 3:49 pm

    Rhonda won’t even win Florida with his doubly unpopular platform of “Stand Your Ground Unless It’s Your Uterus”

  • 15 weeks

    May 24, 2023 at 4:01 pm

    The pro-life lady, Marjorie Dannenfelser, talking in favor of Ron DeSantis says 72% of Americans support 15 weeks for abortions. She must have info from the old moderate DeSantis before he took his extreme turn to the right and put his 6 week limit into law. Catch up, Marjorie. Ron did a 6 week ban. It’s half of his “Stand Your Ground Unless It’s Your Uterus” campaign platform.

    • ScienceBLVR

      May 24, 2023 at 4:19 pm

      And her claim that DeSantis transformed the Sunshine state to the best state for unborn children and mothers… well, what about those born into poverty children and their mothers? Having taught in a high poverty school, I can assure you nothing could be further from the truth. It may be an old argument that Republicans don’t care about or help support all those babies once they are born, but that doesn’t mean it ain’t so. I saw it every day. On almost every SES marker and data research measure, Florida ranks near the bottom for support of mothers and children in poverty.

      • Billy the Bamboozler

        May 24, 2023 at 4:43 pm

        Gonna be a Viking hoard of mentally disordered babies with bad genes due to unselective breeding…descend on Florida like the plague. They’re gonna tear the place apart and conservatives will have to pay. They will not adopt disordered meth babies and crack babies.

  • PeterH

    May 24, 2023 at 5:43 pm

    Neither Trump nor DeSantis will ever sit in the Oval Office. Americans are tired of the hourly narcissistic discourse prevalent in today’s GQP. Americans are very happy with the past three years of quiet ‘behind the scenes’ management of our government in Washington.

    Republicans are America’s biggest problem!

    Vote all Republicans out of office!

  • Roland Terland

    May 25, 2023 at 5:05 am

    Well Mr. Ogles,

    As a registered Democrat you sure let your political beliefs get in the way of an accurate story.

    All you have to do is look at the State of Florida, at all elected official levels, State, County or local where Republicans far dominate the total of number of Democrats elected by the public.

    Yet you decide to overwhelmingly in numbers of comments and actual words to give their one sided opinions over the balance of hearing from even an equal number of others with Pro-DeSantis comments.

    It is so easy to spot how far the Democrats have fallen not only in Florida, but consider the media covering for Feinstein & Fetterman when they are physically & mentally not able to fulfill their constitutional duties,

    Mr. Ogles you are one of these biased reporters. I’m surprised your parents raised you this way.

    • Dont Say FLA

      May 25, 2023 at 8:26 am

      Looks like at least a third of the opinions presented here are from Republicans. That is pretty good for Mr Ogles considering that most of Ron’s fans would have no idea how to watch a video Twitter. Given the brokenness of Twitter, the first people to abandon would have been people that have no idea how to use the internet. They’d assume they were doing it wrong, when really it was Twitter’s few remaining employees having their revenge on two doofuses that constantly rail against everything in those employees’ interests, and one of the doofuses takes most of the fruits of their labor. Yet these two fools put their trust, their campaign launch, into the hands of the very people they work hard to screw. They reaped what they sow, so as Ron says, “you know,” giving a third of reported as coming from ignoranus MAGALand , that is an amazingly high number of GOP opinions found and reported. Mr Ogles was probably up ALL night trying to find MAGAs who actually saw Ron’s Twitter Campaign Laugh and didn’t just read about it secondhand in the morning newspaper from their driveway.

    • Equal number?

      May 25, 2023 at 8:30 am

      If the number of opinions from DeSantis supporters were to be reported fairly with respect to their occurrence in the population, a mere 13% of opinions presented here would be from DeSantis supporters. Considering the DeSantis campaign’s reality of very low support, opinions from DeSantis supporters are highly over-represented here.

    • Ron Is Embarrassed By His Supporters

      May 25, 2023 at 8:35 am

      Ron asked that the names of publicly known people who support him not be disclosed here due to the embarrassing nature of who those people are. Monique Miller is a perfect example. She supports Ron, claiming to be a Ron DeSantis “acolyte.” Consider how embarrassing it would be for DeSantis to have quotes from her, supporting him, put in writing here.

  • Laurel Hardy

    May 25, 2023 at 8:37 am

    Even Laurel Lee is poking fun at Ron DeSantis with her comment about how Ron will be a *trans*formative leader. Good one, Laurel! That is hilarious.

  • Pro Life America 15

    May 25, 2023 at 8:41 am

    Even Pro Life America’s Marjorie Dannenfelser is at 15 weeks here in her statement of support for “6 weeks” Ron. Ron is 9 weeks more extreme than the Pro Life America extremist president Marjorie Dannenfelser. Yikes.

  • DeSaster Candidate

    May 25, 2023 at 11:19 am

    An embarrassing “launch” from our embarrassing governor. Couldn’t have happened to a more arrogant and entitled politician.

Comments are closed.


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