FERNANDINA BEACH WEATHER

Ron DeSantis officially files for reelection in 2022

By Jacob Ogles
FloridaPolitics.com
November 10, 2021

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

Ron DeSantis has officially filed for reelection to a second term as Florida Governor.

Multiple sources confirmed to Florida Politics that the Governor on Friday submitted his candidacy paperwork. He showed up in the Division of Elections list of 2022 candidates early Monday with Nancy Watkins serving as his campaign treasurer.

An official campaign kickoff is still forthcoming.

“Just stay tuned,” DeSantis said at a Monday press conference on separate issues. “It’s more of a formality to open a campaign committee. We won’t do any public announcements until after the Special Session, but you have to prepare for these things.”

DeSantis enters the field facing three significant Democratic opponents, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, and Sen. Annette Taddeo. But he goes into this election in a significantly stronger position than he enjoyed when he first ran for Governor in 2018.

Then, DeSantis faced an uphill battle in the Republican Primary against then-Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who had spent a decade preparing to run. But DeSantis rocketed ahead of Putnam after receiving the endorsement of then-President Donald Trump.

In the General Election, he squared off against then-Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum as the Democratic nominee, who quickly grew a national profile and network of support. DeSantis ultimately won the Governor’s race by a 32,463-vote margin, about 0.4% of more than 8 million votes cast and an amount confirmed after a state-mandated machine recount.

Today, DeSantis comes in with his own national profile, which has grown substantially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the past two years, he has built a following for his largely hands-off approach to business and personal restrictions. Many expect if he wins reelection for that to set the stage for a presidential run in 2024.

The past three years have also seen Florida Republicans catch up to — and surpass — Democrats in voter registrations.

That said, polls have shown he could face a tight race again against either Crist or Fried.

His political committee, Friends of Ron DeSantis, has raised money at an astonishing rate over the past year, pulling in $5.2 million in September alone. As of the beginning of October, the committee held more than $58.3 million in cash on hand, and it is expected to report further growth when October reports publish later this week.

That’s before DeSantis raises a dime for his official campaign account, which can start cashing checks today.

DeSantis’ campaign staff is expected to include Heather Barker, one of the Governor’s top fundraisers. Barker previously oversaw fundraising at the political committee. In her new role as a senior adviser, she will still have a hand in fundraising, but she will also be involved in overall strategy, sources close to the campaign told Florida Politics late last month.

Generra Peck is expexted to run day-to-day operations for DeSantis ’22, possibly as campaign manager. Peck is president of Pathway Public Affairs, the firm where DeSantis senior adviser Phil Cox is a partner.

DeSantis first won election to the U.S. House in 2012. He resigned his seat in Congress after securing the Republican nomination for Governor in 2018.

One challenge in DeSantis’ personal life now, his wife, Casey, likely will have a less prominent role on the campaign trail as she fights breast cancer. At a Monday press conference, he did say he and his wife continue to feel uplifted by support in the wake of her diagnosis.

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