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W.House hopeful DeSantis boosts 2024 chances with Florida reelection

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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis boosted his prospects for a White House run in 2024 by handily winning re-election in the November 8, 2022 midterms./AFP
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Nov 09, 2022 - 09:50 AM

MIAMI, UNITED STATES — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis appeared headed for a landslide victory Tuesday over his Democratic rival, boosting his chances of successfully challenging Donald Trump for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

Florida’s unofficial election night results put the 44-year-old DeSantis more than 20 points ahead of Democrat Charlie Crist — a margin of nearly 1.5 million votes, with ballots still being counted.

“Thanks to the overwhelming support of the people of Florida we not only won re-election, we have rewritten the political map,” DeSantis said in Tampa in a victory speech cheered on by supporters.

Hailing his “landslide victory,” the governor launched into a searing critique of the “woke agenda” of liberal politicians.

“We have embraced freedom. We have maintained law and order, we have protected the rights of parents. We have respected our taxpayers and we reject woke ideology,” DeSantis said.

“We fight the woke in the legislature, we fight the woke in the schools, we fight the woke in the corporations. We will never, ever surrender to the woke mob. Florida is where woke goes to die.”

While DeSantis has not declared his candidacy for president, he is clearly keeping his options open, refusing to commit to serving out a full second term as governor.

Trump took aim at his potential presidential rival’s prospects, telling Fox News the day before the vote that if DeSantis runs for the White House, “he could hurt himself very badly. I really believe he could hurt himself badly.”

“I think he would be making a mistake, I think the base would not like it,” Trump said, adding: “I don’t think it would be good for the party.”

DeSantis gained national attention for his opposition to strict measures aimed at slowing the spread of Covid-19, and has made himself a standard bearer of the conservative backlash to growing tolerance for LGBTQ rights.

The Florida governor also signed a 15-week abortion ban into law earlier this year, joining a nationwide push by conservatives to restrict reproductive rights.

In another appeal to hardline conservative politics, he sent dozens of undocumented migrants by plane to wealthy Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts — a move that sparked a class action lawsuit against him in the Democratic-led state.

Crist, 66, served as Florida’s governor from 2007 to 2011 as a Republican, but later switched parties, winning election to the US House of Representatives as a Democrat before resigning and pursuing his gubernatorial bid.

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