Last Call for 1.22.24 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

A digest of the day's politics and policy while the bartender refreshes your drink.

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign is dead.

Less than a week after touting a “strong second place” finish in Iowa, the Governor last night announced he was suspending his campaign and endorsing former President Donald Trump.

“If there was anything I could do to produce a favorable outcome, more campaign stops, more interviews, I would do it. But I can’t ask our supporters to volunteer their time and donate their resources if we don’t have a clear path to victory accordingly. I am today suspending my campaign,” DeSantis said in a video posted to social media.

Indeed, his path to the nomination went from narrow to non-existent over the past week. After putting everything on the line in Iowa and coming up short, DeSantis 2024 needed former Amb. Nikki Haley to flame out fast to vacuum up enough non-Trump voters to remain viable.

With impending — and likely embarrassing — defeats on the horizon in New Hampshire and South Carolina, it’s unclear if even that would’ve given him the momentum many thought he had a year ago, when he was considered the candidate best positioned to steal the hearts of MAGA voters.

But Republican Primary voters have made clear that a “Trump without the baggage” isn’t what they want. After all, where’s the fun in that?

Consider this Last Call’s final dispatch from the 2024 campaign trail. Now it’s time to switch focus to other goings on in Florida politics, and thankfully, there’s plenty going on — in case you haven’t heard, we’re already a quarter of the way through a Legislative Session.

Bill Day’s Latest

Evening Reads

—“This Bud’s for him” via Brian Stetler of The Atlantic

—”Inside the final hours of Ron DeSantis’ ill-fated campaign” via Dasha Burns, Matt Dixon, Henry J. Gomez and Jonathan Allen of NBC News

—”How DeSantis collapsed in the glare of a presidential campaign” via Kimberly Leonard, Sally Goldenberg and Gary Fineout of POLITICO

—“DeSantis’ campaign was over when he decided to have a popularity contest against Mickey Mouse” via John L. Dorman of Business Insider

—”DeSantis told Republicans that Donald Trump was a terrible candidate. Then he got in line” via Max Greenwood of the Miami Herald

—”From Never Back Down to Trump surrender: 3 fatal flaws that doomed DeSantis’ campaign” via Zac Anderson and David Jackson of USA Today

—“AI is destabilizing ‘the concept of truth itself’ in 2024 election” via Pranshu Verma and Gerrit De Vynck of The Washington Post

—”Americans feel better about the economy. Will that help Joe Biden?” via Jeanna Smialek of The New York Times

—“How we (actually) won HD 35” via Beth Matuga

Quote of the Day

“It’s time to choose wisely.”

Donald Trump’s campaign, after the Primary narrowed to a two-person race.

Put It on the Tab

Look to your left, then look to your right. If you see one of these people at your happy hour haunt, flag down the bartender and put one of these on your tab. Recipes included, just in case the Cocktail Codex fell into the well.

There are so many cocktails one could mix up for Trump now that DeSantis has dropped his bid and offered his endorsement, but since the former President reportedly doesn’t drink, snag him the Smug AF non-alcoholic beverage of his choice.

DeSantis voiced many regrets in the final days of his doomed campaign. It sounds like he could use a Coulda Woulda Shoulda.

Now that Sen. Joe Gruters has landed the most important endorsement a would-be GOP National Committeeman could ask for, order him a classic vodka cran — just make sure to spring for Big Win organic.

A Senate panel is considering increasing the caps on medical malpractice lawsuits for the first time in decades, and there just so happens to be a Malpractice cocktail. Today’s as good a day as any to give it a shot.

Breakthrough Insights


Tune In

Panthers look to end losing streak

The Florida Panthers try to snap a losing stream and stay in playoff position in the NHL’s Eastern Conference as they travel to Nashville to face the Predators (8 p.m. ET, Bally Sports).

The Panthers (27-14-4) have lost four straight games after a nine-game winning streak. Two of the losses in the recent skid were in overtime. Tonight’s game is the first meeting between the Panthers and Predators (25-20-1). The teams will meet again in Miami on March 21.

Florida’s struggles have coincided with an injury to their captain, Sasha Barkov, who has missed the last three games after sustaining a lower-body injury. He could return to the lineup when the Panthers host the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday.

The big question for tonight surrounds the goaltending for the Panthers. Sergei Bobrovsky was benched last game after surrendering four goals on 15 shots in a loss to Minnesota. Bobrovsky has struggled lately, allowing 10 goals in his last three starts.

Nashville sits in fourth place in the Central Division, nine points behind third-place Dallas. The Predators traveled back to the Music City after a 3-2 loss at Arizona.

For Florida, it’s a chance to get back on track as the second half of the season heats up.


6:30 p.m. — Bethune-Cookman Wildcats @ Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions

7 p.m. — NCAAW: Mississippi State Bulldogs @ Florida Gators

7 p.m. — Cleveland Cavaliers @ Orlando Magic

8:30 p.m. — NCAAM: Florida A&M Rattlers @ Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils


Last Call is published by Peter Schorsch, assembled and edited by Phil Ammann and Drew Wilson, with contributions from the staff of Florida Politics.

Staff Reports

One comment

  • Julia

    January 22, 2024 at 6:18 pm

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    C­­h­­e­­c­­k­­ It…………………………

Comments are closed.


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