Ron DeSantis holds up Richard Corcoran as example of political rival turned ally

The Governor told Iowans of how the former Education Commissioner backed his opponent in 2018.

Ron DeSantis is holding out an olive branch to opponents in the event he wins the 2024 nomination, saying history shows he can build bridges with erstwhile enemies.

During an event hosted by the Never Back Down super PAC, the Republican presidential candidate cited Richard Corcoran as an example of someone who opposed him at one point, before becoming a key part of his administration.

“There’ll be people that were on the opposite side of this Primary who oppose me in the Primary if they’re the ones that can do the job and our, and our values are aligned and they’re committed to cleaning up Washington, I have no problem putting them in a position because it’s not about me. It’s about who can accomplish the mission and I’ve done this in Florida,” DeSantis said in Rock Rapids.

“My first Commissioner of Education was against me in the Primary in ’18. But you know what? He was the right guy for the job, put him in. He got the job done,” the Governor added.

Well ahead of the 2018 gubernatorial election, DeSantis and Corcoran were among the guests at a Koch Network event in Colorado. At that point, Corcoran had already launched a  political committee, Watchdog PAC, expected at that point to help fund a campaign for Governor in 2018.

“Those are the only two choices — Governor or not run for office,” the Land O’Lakes Republican said about his new fundraising arm to the Tampa Bay Times. “If I can’t raise the money, I can’t raise the money, and if I raise the money and I don’t want to run for Governor, I don’t run for Governor.”

There was talk of DeSantis running for Governor at that point as well, just months after he decided to run for a third term in the House to avoid a Senate race with Marco Rubio, who decided to run for re-election after losing the GOP Presidential Primary of 2016. The conservative Madison Project, which backed his Senate bid, urged him to run for Governor. Polling of that race began in April 2017.

Corcoran endorsed Adam Putnam rather than run for Governor ultimately, disparaging DeSantis in the process.

“He’s got a bulldog mouth, a chihuahua ass, and he doesn’t even know what the heck is going on in this state. Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, that’s the only thing he can say. At some point, you’ve got to come out and give people a Florida vision,” Corcoran said.

That rebuke roiled the DeSantis operation.

“After a year of campaigning and millions of dollars of special interest money spent, career insider Adam Putnam’s campaign has flatlined. So, he’s turning to dealmaking in the Tallahassee swamp. Today he’ll stand in the shadow of the state capital in the middle of the Tallahassee swamp and receive the endorsement of a fellow career insider, one that will only matter to his fellow swamp dwellers.”

Soon enough, though, Putnam lost and the healing began. Corcoran endorsed DeSantis, saying “the Primary is behind us.”

And DeSantis brought Corcoran into the fold, appointing him as Commissioner of Education, and then facilitating Corcoran’s hire as the President of New College of Florida, a job where he will make $1.3 million a year through 2028.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


8 comments

  • Dont Say FLA

    January 11, 2024 at 4:13 pm

    Maybe Corcoran will give Rhonda a job … a couple weeks from now

    • Michael K

      January 11, 2024 at 4:42 pm

      At New College. Rhonda gave Corcoran. $1 million sinecure appointment – so may he’ll hire Rhonda to be the towel boy for the influx of lower GPA jocks (with no sports teams or facilities) being shoosh in courtesy of Chris Rufo to “de-feminize.”

      • Dont Say FLA

        January 11, 2024 at 7:52 pm

        Maybe Rhonda can be baseball coach! Rhonda does love the balls. And the bases.

  • ScienceBLVR

    January 11, 2024 at 4:49 pm

    And DeSantis brought Corcoran into the fold, appointing him as Commissioner of Education, and then facilitating Corcoran’s hire as the President of New College of Florida, a job where he will make $1.3 million a year through 2028.

    That’s it in a nutshell, right? In the DeSantis Kingdom, friends are handsomely rewarded, opponents like Disney, Andrew Warren, Monique Worrell are punished or fired.

  • MH/Duuuval

    January 11, 2024 at 10:47 pm

    It’s as old as the kingdom of Ur: Reward those who kowtow and buddy up, like Corcoran, and eviscerate those too stiff-necked to bow.

  • tom palmer

    January 12, 2024 at 8:42 am

    If someone gave me a seven-figure sinecure, I’d like them, too.

  • FloridaPatriot

    January 12, 2024 at 12:02 pm

    Give anyone a cushy, High paying job and they will be very supportive. Corcoran is bought and paid for.

  • Mingo

    January 12, 2024 at 3:07 pm

    It’s been said politicics make for strange bed fellows,oops did I just say gay?

Comments are closed.


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