Rep. Ron DeSantis’s announcement Friday made him the 10th House member to run for governor and sets up an intriguing Republican primary in Florida.
In his second statewide bid in as many cycles, DeSantis will face in the Aug. 28 contest a far more formidable opponent in state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam than the constellation of contenders who sought the Senate nomination in 2016 before Marco Rubio opted to seek reelection.
Putnam, 43, who was with President George W. Bush in Florida on the morning of 9/11, is a former House Republican Conference chairman whose candidacy has been expected since he left Congress to take a springboard statewide office seven years ago. He entered the election year with $16 million in cash on hand.
DeSantis, 39, is a House Freedom Caucus founding member who as of last month is rolling with the ultimate primary campaign trump card: a presidential endorsement announced on Twitter. That, along with the coinciding support of some top conservative donors, should help expand his name ID beyond the borders of his Atlantic coast district and ingratiate him with a broader portion of the primary electorate, both of which hindered his Senate bid.
— Kyle Trygstad