DeSantis officially files paperwork for reelection bid

DeSantis officially files paperwork for reelection bid

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisThe Hill's Morning Report - Democrats sense opportunity with SCOTUS vacancy Broward County Sheriff sacks deputy union head amid COVID-19 dispute Biden leading Trump, DeSantis by similar margins in new poll MORE (R) has officially filed paperwork to run for a second term in 2022. 

The Republican governor’s statement of candidacy was filed Friday, but didn’t become visible in the state’s public database until Monday. DeSantis said at a Monday morning press conference that a formal campaign kickoff will be forthcoming. 

“It’s more of a formality to open a campaign committee,” he said. “We won’t do any public announcements until after the special session but you have to prepare for these things.”

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There was never any real doubt that DeSantis would run for a second term in the governor’s mansion. He’s been aggressively raising money for his political committee and his public remarks have been hitting the all the same notes as an incumbent running for reelection. 

He has already drawn a field of high-profile Democratic challengers, including Rep. Charlie CristCharles (Charlie) Joseph CristThe Hill's Morning Report - US warns Kremlin, weighs more troops to Europe Headaches intensify for Democrats in Florida Protecting seniors from guardianship fraud and abuse MORE (D-Fla.), state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and state Sen. Annette Taddeo, who jumped into the race last month.

While all three are well-known among Florida Democrats, they’re likely to face a tough fight against DeSantis. His political committee is sitting on nearly $60 million, and he has the strong backing of the GOP’s conservative base. 

At the same time, the past few election cycles in Florida haven’t been kind to Democrats. 

The 2018 midterms saw the party lose one of its U.S. Senate seats, as well as its bid to flip the governor’s mansion. Former President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer chairman of Wisconsin GOP party signals he will comply with Jan. 6 committee subpoena Overnight Defense & National Security — Pentagon tells Russia to stand down Billionaire GOP donor maxed out to Manchin following his Build Back Better opposition MORE scored a second victory in the state in 2020, while Democrats lost control of two key South Florida House seats that they had managed to win only two years earlier.

Still, Democrats say that DeSantis remains beatable, especially given his handling of the coronavirus pandemic in Florida. The state became the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S. over the summer as the more contagious delta variant swept through the country. 

New COVID-19 infections in Florida have dropped over the past month, and most recent polling shows DeSantis with a comfortable lead over each of his Democratic challengers.