Florida GOP Rep. DeSantis announces bid for governor

Florida GOP Rep. DeSantis announces bid for governor
© Greg Nash

Florida Rep. Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantis FBI identifies Pensacola shooter as Saudi Royal Saudi Air Force second lieutenant Overnight Defense: Suspect in Pensacola shooting identified as Saudi aviation student | Trump speaks with Saudi king after shooting | Esper denies considering 14K deployment to Mideast Suspect in deadly Pensacola air station shooting a Saudi national MORE (R) announced his candidacy to be the state's next governor on Friday, saying in a statement that he is the only one with the experience necessary to follow in Gov. Rick Scott's (R) footsteps.

DeSantis on Friday told "Fox & Friends" that there was a "swamp" in Florida's capital, Tallahassee, and he is going to try and "drain" it just as President TrumpDonald John TrumpLawmakers prep ahead of impeachment hearing Democrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing Warren says she made almost M from legal work over past three decades MORE works to "drain the swamp" in Washington.

"As a military officer, an Iraq veteran, and a proven conservative, 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's move follows weeks of speculation over his intentions following a Dec. 22 tweet from President Trump urging Floridians to support the Republican lawmaker for governor.

“Congressman Ron DeSantis is a brilliant young leader, Yale and Harvard Law, who would make a GREAT Governor of Florida,” Trump tweeted last month. “He loves our Country and is a true FIGHTER.”


DeSantis said Friday that he was "excited" to launch his campaign for governor with Trump's endorsement.

“I’m excited about taking this first step towards a campaign for governor,” DeSantis said.

Currently, the GOP primary field for governor includes just DeSantis and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. Putnam has already gained support from much of Florida's Republican establishment, forcing DeSantis to look nationally for donations, according to reports.

“If he brings the money with him, it basically comes down to DeSantis and Trump politics versus Putnam and the potential of a massive field army,” one unaffiliated GOP consultant told Politico.

DeSantis has endeared himself to national conservatives since his election to Congress in 2013 with his support for moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, as well as supporting other Trump administration priorities. However, DeSantis has been critical of House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHouse Ethics Committee informs Duncan Hunter he can no longer vote after guilty plea Duncan Hunter pleads guilty after changing plea Trump campaign steps up attacks on Biden MORE (R-Wis.) and has pushed for congressional term limits alongside Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzDemocrats express confidence in case as impeachment speeds forward Chuck Todd challenges Cruz after senator pushes theory that Ukraine meddled in election Sunday shows — Nadler: A jury would convict Trump in 'three minutes flat' MORE (R-Texas).

Scott has been chief executive in Florida since 2011. Florida law requires governors who serve two consecutive terms to leave office for at least one term before being able to run for governor again.

- This report was updated at 10:27 a.m. EST