Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) is criss-crossing the country to stump for Republicans in gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races, putting his star power behind what some pollsters say could be a red wave in November.
DeSantis made appearances with Turning Point Action in August and September to campaign for U.S. Senate candidates JD Vance, of Ohio; Ron Johnson, of Wisconsin; Blake Masters, of Arizona; and Adam Laxalt, of Nevada. In addition, he recently endorsed Joe O’Dea, who is running against Democratic incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet in Colorado. This reacts could tip the 50-50 Senate to the GOP.
“Governor DeSantis is America’s governor and one of the most popular leaders in America,” said Charlie Kirk, founder and president of Turning Point Action. “He has become the model for a new conservative movement that is willing to stand on principle and to actually fight on behalf of the values of his voters.”
DeSantis has been equally busy backing current and potential fellow Republican governors, campaigning for Tim Michels, of Wisconsin; Derek Schmitt, of Kansas; Mark Ronchetti, of New Mexico; Doug Mastriano, of Pennsylvania; Kari Lake, of Arizona; and current Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt.
“I know Kari Lake will push back against Biden,” DeSantis said in Arizona. “And I know Blake Masters in the Senate is going to give Biden a lot of problems, which is what we need.”`
“He’s got BDE,” Lake said of DeSantis. “I call it Big DeSantis Energy.”
DeSantis appears to have the luxury of campaigning for others even as he faces his own re-election challenge in Florida, where polls show him with a double-digit lead over Democrat Charlie Criss.
In addition to boosting his party’s chances of taking control of the Senate and state executive branches, the tour raises DeSantis’ profile around the nation and allows him to collect key favors in the event he mounts a 2024 White House bid. While he has not said whether he intends to run for president, he has a formidable warchest, with more cash on hand than any other potential 2024 political candidate, including former President Donald Trump.
Kirk said DeSantis’s high approval rating with conservatives makes him a powerful ally for candidates around the country.
“DeSantis has the unique ability to unite conservatives around these candidates,” Kirk said.
Vance also praised DeSantis for his efforts.
“Thank you for being patriotic enough to care about this country enough to come out and fight for it,” said Vance, who is in a close race with Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan to take the Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Rob Portman.
Conservative operative Matthew Brouillette said DeSantis strikes a chord on the stump because of his track record on issues including fighting federal COVID mandates and controversial school curriculum policies.
“DeSantis leans into and leads on the important policy issues people care about, but he does so without the off-putting craziness that turns off independent and swing voters — the people you need to win Pennsylvania,” Brouillette said.