(Fox News) Saying that he’s “running for president to lead our great American comeback,” Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida formally launched his White House campaign in a video released by his political team.
“Our border is a disaster. Crime infests our cities. The federal government makes it harder for families to make ends meet. And the president flounders,” DeSantis charges in the video, which was shared first with Fox News on Wednesday.
The governor argues that “decline is a choice. Success is attainable. And freedom is worth fighting for. Righting the ship requires restoring sanity to our society, normalcy to our communities, and integrity to our institutions. Truth must be our foundation — and common sense can no longer be an uncommon virtue. In Florida, we proved it can be done.”
After months of buildup and speculation, the DeSantis campaign released the launch video in conjunction with the Florida governor’s appearance on Twitter, where he was expected to also formally announce his 2024 candidacy in a 6pm ET interview with business magnate and Twitter owner Elon Musk.
In the video, DeSantis points to his record in Florida, emphasizing that “we chose facts over fear, education over indoctrination, law and order over rioting and disorder. We held the line when freedom hung in the balance. We showed that we can — and must — revitalize America. We need the courage to lead and the strength to win.”
He’s seen in the video walking up to and speaking from a stage draped with a large American flag.
The video’s release comes a couple of hours after DeSantis filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission, which officially triggers his presidential campaign.
The move by DeSantis coincides with his meeting this week with top financial backers. The filing with the FEC allows DeSantis to directly solicit contributions from top donors and bundlers he’s huddling with starting on Thursday in Miami, Florida.
Even though he’s been on the 2024 sidelines, DeSantis for months has been in the top tier of Republican nomination contenders, behind former President Donald Trump and ahead of the rest of the field of actual and likely candidates in nearly every GOP primary poll.
Three new national surveys released Wednesday by Fox News, CNN, and Quinnipiac University continued to indicate Trump holding a large double-digit lead over DeSantis, with the rest of the contenders far behind in single digits.
But DeSantis’ poll numbers – in relation to Trump – have slipped from earlier this year.
Still, DeSantis enters the 2024 race in a relatively strong position. He’s sitting on a massive war chest he built during last year’s gubernatorial reelection campaign. DeSantis set a gubernatorial fundraising record in the 2022 cycle and had $110 million cash on hand in his fundraising committees at the start of the spring.
Much of that money could likely be transferred to Never Back Down, a super PAC backing the Florida governor’s White House bid that is staffing up a ground operation in key electoral states across the country and pledges to spend up to $200 million on behalf of DeSantis.
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Because of his powerful position, DeSantis has a large target on his back. And Trump, who’s known for pummeling his political rivals, didn’t wait for the governor to declare his candidacy.