A newly launched nonprofit group is supporting Ron DeSantis’ national political activity — a major sign of the growing political apparatus around the Florida governor as he moves toward a 2024 presidential bid.
The nonprofit organization, called “And to the Republic,” hosted three events DeSantis held Monday in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia, where he spoke before law enforcement officers. A person familiar with the group said it was “proud to help host the events today featuring Governor Ron DeSantis that put a spotlight on those state policies that are working and those that are clearly not working.”
And to the Republic is registered as a 501(c)(4) issue advocacy organization — a type of nonprofit that doesn’t have to disclose its donors but can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money advocating for policies it supports.
The person familiar with the nonprofit noted that it plans to host events with politicians other than DeSantis in the future, and it has invited other governors to join events similar to the ones DeSantis spoke at this week. But with the new group, DeSantis joins a slate of other Republican presidential contenders, including former Vice President Mike Pence and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who are benefitting from nonprofit issue advocacy groups. Some of the nonprofits have been active for years, supporting their policies, raising money, building large email lists and paying staff that will form the backbones of presidential campaigns launched later this year.
Corporate records in Michigan show that the new group, which has also launched a bare-bones website, formed on Jan. 30.
The outfit is overseen by Tori Sachs, a Michigan-based Republican strategist who has been a longtime adviser to GOP Rep. John James. Sachs has also worked for several conservative issue advocacy groups, including Michigan Freedom Fund and Michigan Rising Action.
Those briefed on And to the Republic’s plans say it is expected to hold additional events supporting DeSantis. The person familiar with the organization said it would be “announcing events for the future in the coming weeks and months.”
DeSantis is taking steps to raise his national visibility ahead of a likely presidential bid. Next week, he is launching a new book, “The Courage to be Free: Florida’s Blueprint for America’s Revival.” And later this week, DeSantis is hosting a three-day donor retreat at the Four Seasons Palm Beach, which is expected to draw around 150 supporters.
Should he enter the race for the White House, DeSantis would start as the leading GOP rival to former President Donald Trump — who has in turn derided the governor on social media as “disloyal,” “Meatball Ron” and “Ron DeSanctimonious.”
DeSantis, who is not expected to formally launch a bid until after Florida’s legislative session ends later this spring, has brushed aside the insults, saying that he doesn’t spend his time “trying to smear other Republicans.”
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