NEW YORK (AFP): Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, whose impassioned battles over pandemic lockdowns and divisive cultural issues have endeared him to conservatives, will announce on Wednesday he is seeking the Republican presidential nomination, placing him on a collision course with former President Donald Trump.
DeSantis will make the announcement on Twitter during a discussion with Twitter CEO Elon Musk, DeSantis’ political team confirmed. At the same time, he will file a document with the Federal Election Commission declaring his candidacy.
NBC first reported the planned announcement.
Musk confirmed his appearance on a webcast during a conference hosted by the Wall Street Journal, saying he was not endorsing DeSantis.
“I’m not at this time planning to endorse any particular candidate, but I am interested in Twitter being somewhat of a town square,” Musk said.
DeSantis was re-elected handily to a second term in November. His rising profile among Republicans and fundraising prowess likely make him the biggest threat to Trump’s hopes of becoming the Republican nominee for the White House again.
The two men were close allies during Trump’s four years in the White House – Trump endorsed him during his first campaign for governor – but DeSantis has since forged his own political identity. At 44 he may represent the future of the party more than does the 76-year-old Trump.
DeSantis will convene a meeting in Miami of his top donors, who will immediately launch his presidential fundraising efforts.