The Florida Law Standing Between DeSantis and a Presidential Bid

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Florida legislature quietly making preparations to change Florida law to pave way for DeSantis presidential bid

With the release of his book last week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has begun his campaign for an office he hasn’t declared he’s seeking. It’s not officially a campaign. It’s called instead a book tour for “The Courage to be Free: Florida’s Blueprint for America’s Revival.”

DeSantis will make two book-tour stops this week in Iowa, important to presidential contenders with its early primary caucuses. He’s likely to stop by in New Hampshire, with its early primary, as well.

DeSantis has other pieces of a campaign in place. He meets with and gets checks from big donors. Meanwhile, his campaign staff has stayed in place, paid by the Republican Party.

Why hasn’t he declared for office? He’s said he’s first concerned with Florida’s legislative session, beginning March 7 and lasting until May 5.

There’s another reason, though. Florida law now requires him to resign as governor—in a second term he took the oath of office for just two months ago—if he runs for another office.

Florida lawmakers have gone back and forth on that law over the past two decades. They eased it for state or local officials considering a run for federal office in the late 2000s when then-Governor Charlie Crist sought the vice-presidential nomination in 2008.

But they changed it back in 2018, under then-Governor Rick Scott, having decided that easing it had led to costly special elections. The resign-to-run law was intended to avoid those.

If DeSantis resigned, Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez would succeed to the office.

No bill has yet been introduced to ease the law once again. But behind the scenes, lawmakers in the Republican-controlled legislature quietly acknowledge that a plan for that is coming together.

And both state House Speaker Paul Renner and Senate Majority Leader Kathleen Passidomo hinted after the November elections that they favor fixing the resign-to-run problem. Neither responded to emails from The Epoch Times asking for their current positions.

By Dan M. Berger

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