Rep. Ron DeSantis will run for Florida governor in 2018, the third-term Republican announced Friday morning.
Appearing on the morning cable show “Fox & Friends,” DeSantis touted his strong relationship with President Donald Trump — who endorsed the 39-year-old lawmaker for a governor bid in recent weeks — before revealing his intention to run.
“As you remember a few weeks ago, the president tweeted support for me as a candidate for governor of Florida,” DeSantis said. “So today we’re going to be filing the paperwork to begin that effort.”
DeSantis lauded the term-limited Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s record over the last seven years and deployed a common phrase Trump used during his 2016 presidential campaign about clearing government of corrupt leaders and career politicians.
“With the support of the president, I’m in a position to exercise the leadership that can build on the great work that Governor Rick Scott has done to advance economic opportunity, reform education, and drain the swamp in Tallahassee that needs to be drained just like Washington,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis is the 10th Republican House member to declare he is leaving his post to run for higher office in 2018. Eight Democrats have made similar announcements.
DeSantis, an Iraq veteran and Navy reservist, was first elected to Congress in 2012. Even then, he appeared to have Trump’s support.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 20, 2012
The open 6th District seat DeSantis will leave behind is the GOP’s to lose. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the 6th District race as Solid Republican. The district broke for Trump by 17 points in 2016, per calculations by the tracking site Daily KOS.
Republicans have their eyes on Brandon Patty, who ran for the 6th District in 2016, but dropped out of the race when DeSantis abandoned his quest for the Senate nomination to seek re-election. Another name to watch is businessman Michael Waltz, a Green Beret commander who was a foreign policy adviser to former Vice President Dick Cheney. Businessman and Navy veteran John Ward is already in the race.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee made the 6th District an early target. Former United Nations ambassador Nancy Soderberg entered the race in July.
The district lies on Florida’s northeast coast and juts into the central portion of the state.
Simone Pathe contributed to this report.Smith, Jones Arrive, But Can They Last?