Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis endorsed fellow Republican Governor Kevin Stitt in the 2024 Republican presidential primary on Saturday. This is a significant endorsement for DeSantis, who is seeking to be the front-runner to replace former President Donald Trump.
“Governor DeSantis is a strong conservative and principled leader, and I am proud to endorse him for president,” Oklahoma Governor Stitt said in a statement.
Stitt praised DeSantis’ handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, arguing that the governor of Florida “did not abandon state rights and individual liberties for groupthink.”
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“This election cycle will remind Oklahomans that DeSantis was one of the few people who didn’t back down in the face of adversity because he acted with dogged convictions and limited Because we shared our values for a government and a free country,” he said.
Mr. Stitt went on to praise Mr. DeSantis, who “has valiantly delivered results to the people of Florida that laid the foundation for a booming economy, a student-centred education system, and better infrastructure for working families.”
“To bring about this same result across the nation and unleash the disastrous liberal mandate of the Biden administration will require a candidate who can win and continue to win a second term as president. I’m pretty sure it’s DeSantis,” he said. .
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Stitt’s backing is the latest pick-up for DeSantis in Sooner State. Earlier this week, 20 Oklahoma legislators and former NASA administrator and congressman Jim Bridenstine announced their support for DeSantis’ bid.
The endorsement shows a significant voice of support from a governor known as a strong conservative. Stitt made Oklahoma the first state to ban abortion after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and also signed a bill allowing the “constitutional carriage” of firearms in the state.
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Last year, she signed a bill banning men from participating in women’s sports, and this year banned all gender reassignment surgeries for minors in the state, including irreversible gender reassignment surgery and hormone therapy.
The endorsement comes as DeSantis seeks to close the gap with Trump, the clear frontrunner in the polls. Meanwhile, the field has expanded even further with the recent entry of former Vice President Mike Pence and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie into the 2024 nominations.
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DeSantis has attempted to contrast his own response to the COVID-19 pandemic with Trump’s. The DeSantis campaign this week premiered an AI-generated image of President Trump hugging Dr. Anthony Fauci.
President Trump recently hit back, saying Democrat New York Governor Andrew Cuomo “has done better” in handling the pandemic than his fellow Republicans.