Trump's biggest rival enters presidency race
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, whose clashes with Disney and aggressive pursuit of conservative victories has made him a leading Republican Party figure, has filed to run for the US presidency in 2024.
His filing with the Federal Election Commission comes ahead of the announcement he's set to make on Wednesday evening local time with Twitter owner Elon Musk on the site's audio platform, Twitter Spaces.
It makes official a decision that was widely expected since November, when DeSantis won re-election as governor in resounding fashion and captured the attention of a party longing to turn the page from recent defeats.
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He steps into the race for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination months later than other contenders but is better funded, better known and polling higher than all but one: Donald Trump.
The former president has treated DeSantis, whom he once endorsed for Florida governor, as his top foe for months, assailing him regularly on social media and in interviews.
A super PAC aligned with Trump has spent millions attacking DeSantis on national television, setting expectations for a bruising primary between the two former allies.
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To overcome Trump, DeSantis will need to convince Republican voters he is best positioned to take on President Joe Biden next November.
That will likely involve winning over conservatives who may still look back fondly on Trump's presidency while also coalescing support among Republicans eager for new blood to lead the party.
DeSantis, 44, has spent months laying the groundwork to make that case. He has travelled the country extensively, styling himself as a leader in the right's culture wars and presenting a new vision for a Republican Party that uses elected powers to punish political opponents and force conservative orthodoxy on institutions and businesses.
Working with his state's GOP-controlled legislature, DeSantis has stacked up multiple policy victories – including banning abortion after six weeks, eliminating permits to carry a concealed gun in public, enacting a universal school voucher law and targeting access to transgender health care – all of which will serve as a platform as he launches his campaign.
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