Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, long perceived as ex-President Donald Trump’s biggest potential rival for the Republican nomination, will reportedly enter the 2024 race next week.
DeSantis, 44, is likely to file paperwork declaring his presidential candidacy on May 25, the same day that a donor meeting will take place in Miami, two people with knowledge on the matter told Reuters on Thursday.
The Republican governor will then do a more formal campaign launch on the week of May 29, possibly after the Memorial Day holiday, one of the sources said. The location is not known.
DeSantis announcing would represent the first major challenge to Trump, 76, who has a commanding lead for the GOP nomination in recent polls.
An invitation for the May 25 meeting states that donors will be asked to work, implying that fundraising for DeSantis may be on the table, said a source with information on the event. DeSantis’ representatives would not comment on the matter.
Trump has frequently attacked DeSantis as he mulls making a 2024 bid. On Wednesday, Trump shared several news stories on his Truth Social platform reporting setbacks for DeSantis, including his endorsements that flopped. Trump has nicknamed him DeSanctus.
As of early afternoon on Thursday, Trump had not commented on the report that DeSantis is set to announce next week.
Some top Republican donors have urged DeSantis to enter the race as early as possible to stand against Trump. But DeSantis would not make the move and waited for the Florida legislature to wrap up its spring session in early May.
DeSantis’ recent legislative victories include banning most abortions in the state, allowing people without permits to carry concealed weapons and getting rid of diversity programs at public universities.
One of DeSantis’ more controversial engagements is his ongoing battle with Disney, which opposed the Parental Rights in Education bill that he signed into law last year. It prohibits classroom lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity in early grades and has been dubbed Don’t Say Gay. Walt Disney Co late last month sued DeSantis over his takeover of its theme park district in Orlando.
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First appear at Donald Trump rival Ron DeSantis ‘to enter presidential race next week’