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2024 Archives - Orlando Solution

Nikki Fried speaks about ‘DeSantis 2024’


The idea of DeSantis for four more years does not sit right with Nikki Fried

A Democrat looking at running for Governor urges caution when considering whether the incumbent would serve a full second term if reelected.

Agriculture Commissioner Nicole “Nikki” Fried suggested Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis may not actually be interested in serving the full four years should voters reelect him in November.

“He’s looking at 2024,” Fried told Duval County Democrats during a meeting Monday evening.

“If you think that he’s spending one day in his second administration, you are wrong. He is trying to use the people of our state for his own political power and future,” Fried added.

“If he’s running for President, he will have to declare, you know, right before or right after the November election. This means the first two years, he’s campaigning all over the country. And his last two years, he’s going to be President. So who gets duped? The people of the state of Florida.”

Fried continues to say that DeSantis “needs to be a one-term Governor,” and as Florida’s “only statewide Democrat,” she is getting asked to run by more and more people all the time. The Commissioner has said publicly she has been “looking at” the race since last summer.

Florida Politics reached out to DeSantis spokesperson Meredith Beatrice Tuesday morning for comment on Fried’s claim that DeSantis is just looking to run for President and are awaiting a response.

The Fried/DeSantis intrigue is nothing new for Florida political watchers, with the Agriculture Commissioner and the Governor on opposite sides of numerous issues for more than a year now.

The Commissioner also attacked DeSantis for his assertion that corporations shouldn’t “stick their beaks” into political issues, as happened in Georgia over voting law changes.

“He went on to Fox News yesterday, and he yelled at the corporations — ‘if you stick your beak in our issues, we’re going to stick our beak into yours’ — and (tried) to scare and intimidate the corporations from getting involved,” Fried fumed.

“Hey, Governor? Return all of your corporate checks. Because the corporations are the most powerful people in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C.”

A contest between the Governor and the Commissioner could be competitive. Florida Politics commissioned a poll earlier this year showing a race between Fried and DeSantis as a dead heat.

2024 vision – DeSantis plan for battle for the sake of Trump’s legacy


2024 plans for Governor Ron Desantis – The Governor is seen as the best person to carry on Trump’s legacy as the party’s national standard-bearer in 2024.

During the COVID-19 crisis, Governor Ron’s reputation was at stake. He was ridiculed and second-guessed for rejecting mask mandates and reopening businesses. Moreover, he also had controversies where he was accused of involving himself in a vaccine scam. His approach was compared, unfavorably, to other governors from both parties, including now-embattled Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York. DeSantis’ popularity in Florida cratered.

“I think he’s the odds-on favorite to be the next president,” if Trump doesn’t run again, said Joe Gruters, a Florida state senator and chairman of the state Republican Party.

Such declarations can’t be discounted as parochialism in a state where two other Republicans — Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott — nurture White House ambitions. Nationally, the picture is similarly encouraging for DeSantis.

At last month’s Conservative Political Action Conference for hardcore GOP activists, he finished second to Trump in one presidential straw poll and first in another from which the former president was excluded. A recent survey by Tony Fabrizio, Trump’s chief pollster in 2016 and 2020, showed DeSantis and several others competing for second place in a field led by the former president and showed the governor tied with former Vice President Mike Pence as the second choice among Trump’s supporters. Rubio and Scott both ranked near the bottom.

“When you look under the hood of those numbers, DeSantis garners a lot of support from Trump voters in the absence of Trump,” Fabrizio said. “As the media beat him up as the anti-Cuomo and DeSantis stood up for himself, voters liked that. They associate that type of scrappiness and speaking your mind with President Trump. He is inheriting a lot of that.”

Allies say DeSantis, who did not respond to requests for comment, relishes an adversarial relationship with a press that they believe has rendered him a Republican martyr, precisely the type who can position himself as heir to the Trump mantle. Those who work in or around his political orbit insist he is focused first on 2022 but acknowledge the temptations of 2024.

“Ron DeSantis has quickly become the most recognizable Republican governor in the country, and I think that only bodes well for both his re-election and what he wants to do after that,” said Brad Herold, DeSantis’ 2018 campaign manager.

Donors outside Florida are eager to get in on the ground floor, said Nick Iarossi, a Tallahassee lobbyist, and DeSantis fundraiser.

“I’ve been doing this for 20 years,” Iarossi said, “and you normally don’t have prominent donors from other states reaching out and saying, ‘Hey, how do I meet this guy? How do I support him? I think he’s going to be president one day, and I want to get to know him now. I want to support him for his 2022 election to make sure he wins if we need him running in 2024.'”

Governor DeSantis’s appeal isn’t isolated to Trump’s diehards. His job-approval rating in the Mason-Dixon poll was 59 percent among independents.

Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor whose mild brand of conservatism collapsed under Trumpism in the 2016 presidential primaries, rarely comments on politics these days. But in response to emailed questions about DeSantis’ future, Bush offered praise.

“I am out of the punditry business,” Bush replied, “but I am a fan of Ron DeSantis.”

Not everyone is, of course. Only 15 percent of Democrats in the Mason-Dixon poll approved of DeSantis’ performance. One Democratic group, Ron Be Gone, recently launched to push against his re-election bid and prevent him from becoming a strong 2024 contender.

“To run for statewide office, he invested in that cable news profile,” said Matt Caldwell, a Republican who lost a close race for state agriculture commissioner in 2018. “His relationships are different. If we go to a state party meeting, I’m going to see folks that I have personally volunteered and knocked doors with for the last few decades.”

DeSantis’ big primary victory and handling of the pandemic have earned the party faithful’s embrace, Caldwell added. This week, the governor convened a panel of science and medical professionals — including Dr. Scott Atlas, a former pandemic adviser to Trump — who share his opposition to mandates and lockdowns. Democrats plan to make Covid-19 central in next year’s race for governor. They point to his vaccine distribution program, which critics say has favored wealthy donors. They also note more than 32,000 coronavirus deaths and characterize DeSantis as someone who coldly obsesses over comparative data that makes Florida look better than other states.

“His arrogance and complete detachment from the pain and suffering of our communities is very telling of someone that is in this position to advance his political ambitions, and it’s obvious because they’re already discussing 2024,” said Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, a former congresswoman from South Florida and one of the leaders of the Ron Be Gone effort.

DeSantis backers say they are sensitive to the death toll but believe DeSantis made the right, tough choices to keep the economy running.

“With all due respect to those who have gotten sick or who have passed or who know someone who passed, I think we were able to ride the storm without destroying people’s businesses and people’s economic lives,” said Nelson Diaz, a Republican lobbyist and former chairman of the Miami-Dade County GOP.

The Mason-Dixon poll found DeSantis with substantial leads over two Democrats who could run to challenge him: Rep. Charlie Crist, the former governor who used to be a Republican, and Nikki Fried, the state’s agriculture and consumer services commissioner. And DeSantis is pushing for stricter vote-by-mail rules ahead of his bid for a second term, a fight that could further endear him to supporters of a former president who falsely claims the last election was stolen from him. Some Republicans who are friendly with DeSantis have abandoned the caution they usually preach in a state known for close elections and are projecting confidence for 2022.

“I think this may be one of the easiest gubernatorial re-elects that we’ve seen in Florida in a long time,” said Blaise Ingoglia, a state representative and former state party chairman.

“What people like in general is standing up for what you believe in,” Ingoglia added. “Be a fighter, right? And this is why Ron DeSantis has endeared himself to the Donald Trump base — a base I predict is not going to go away.”

Donald Trump first post-presidential speech at CPAC

Donald Trump - speech at CPAC

Former President Donald Trump takes the political stage in Orlando, Florida. On Sunday evening, Mr. Donald Trump turned the Conservative Political Action Conference into his first post-presidential rally in his 90 minutes speech. During his first speech after his defeat, he pledges to get rid of enemies from the Republican Party and hinting over and over again his plan to run for the White House in 2024.

Trump named each of those Republicans, saving for last Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, whom he called a “warmonger.” He said they should all be ousted in the 2022 primaries.
“Get rid of them all,” he instructed the conservative audience.
Trump concluded his speech by predicting that in the coming years, “a Republican president will make a triumphant return to the White House.”
“And I wonder who that will be,” he said, in a typical nod toward a third campaign in 2024. “I wonder who that will be. Who? Who? Who will that be? I wonder.”

Donald Trump also mentioned focusing on retribution against the 17 Republicans in Congress who voted to impeach him in the House or to convict him in the Senate following the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol.

Before his arrival at Orlando, the citizens crowded outside CPAC as if it was a rally. There was a mix of emotion in the crowd as some people were unhappy to see Donald Trump making a return to speaking for the Republican party, hoping he would step back after a troubled final year in the office. Other citizens were thrilled to see his take on moving the party forward.

Moreover, Donald Trump put a stop to the rumors regarding his alleged new launch of a political party. “We’re not starting new parties,” Trump said. “You know, they kept saying, ‘He’s going to start a brand new party.’ That was fake news. Fake News. Wouldn’t that be brilliant? Let’s start a new party. Let’s divide our vote so that we can never win.”

He made it clear that these are only rumors by saying that: “No, we’re not interested in that. We have the Republican Party. It’s going to unite and be stronger than ever before. I am not starting a new party.”

Furthermore, Mr. Trump also promoted his fantasies about the outcome being rigged were treated as truth well before the former President himself parroted the lies during his speech Sunday evening.

“There was widespread voter fraud in way too many states, most especially in big cities run by the Democrat machine. That is a fact,” Matt Schlapp, the chairman of the American Conservative Union and a CPAC organizer, said in a panel discussion hours before Trump spoke on Sunday. (It is not a fact- He lost the popular vote by 7 million, and the electoral vote by a 306-232 margin.)

Trump’s attacks on Biden were another norm shattered by the former President, who is not following prior ex-presidents’ practice of staying quiet in the early stages of the new chief executive’s term. Trump was also unique in that he was the only major speaker to offer much in-depth criticism of Biden at all.

“Joe Biden has had the most disastrous first month of any president in modern history,” Mr. Donald Trump said. He went ahead and said: “Already the Joe Biden administration has proved that they are anti-jobs, anti-family, anti-borders, anti-energy, anti-women and anti-science. In just one short month, we have gone from America first to America last.”

Donald Trump also passed on a reference to the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 aid package that House Democrats accessed this Saturday.

“The Democrats now say we have to pass their $1.9 trillion boondoggles to open schools, but a very small part of it has to do with that,” he said. “You know where it’s going — it’s going to bailout badly-run Democrat cities, so much of it.”

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