TALLAHASSEE — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he plans to run for a second four-year term and expects to make a formal announcement at the end of the year.
He said speculation about a 2024 White House bid was “total garbage” but did not specifically rule out the possibility of a presidential bid.
In an interview, the Republican said it was a “safe assumption” he would run for a second term as governor.
“I’m planning that, I haven’t announced yet, but I think it’s a safe assumption that I will do it,” DeSantis said.
“Any political stuff that you hear along those lines—that is total garbage,” DeSantis said of speculation that he’ll mount a White House bid. “It’s not coming from me. I’m just doing a day at a time.”
DeSantis rose from his freshman year in Congress to governor of the nation’s third-largest state in just eight years and has been viewed as a potential GOP candidate for president.
But the Republican, a close ally to President Donald Trump who owes his term in the governor’s office partially to the president’s endorsement, could face a political reckoning if Trump loses the White House in November, especially if he can’t take his new home state of Florida.
DeSantis had won favorable approval ratings until the coronavirus pandemic hit earlier this year. After narrowly defeating Democratic opponent Andrew Gillum in 2018, he forged ahead on environmental initiatives and a teacher pay raise that won plaudits from Democrats and could insulate him from partisan attacks during his re-election.
But the pandemic has forced DeSantis to change his focus and halt fundraising for his political committee during the outbreak.
He has come under withering criticism from Florida Democrats for his response to Covid-19, including from Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, one of several possible DeSantis challengers in 2022. He has drawn fire for refusing to issue a statewide mask mandate, being slow to shut down the state, and other responses to the pandemic.
DeSantis, noting he has three children under the age of 5, derided the idea that every elected position is a “beauty contest” for higher office.
“I’ve got a young family, I have a good job, we have gotten a lot accomplished here,” DeSantis said. “What’s wrong with just actually having accomplishments?”