Florida governor Ron DeSantis entered the 2024 US presidential race on Wednesday, stepping into a crowded Republican primary contest that will test his national appeal and the GOP’s willingness to move on from former president, Donald Trump.
The 44-year-old Republican revealed his decision in a Federal Election Commission filing before an online conversation with Twitter CEO Elon Musk.
It marks a new chapter in his extraordinary rise from little-known congressman to two-term governor to a leading figure in the nation’s bitter fights over race, gender, abortion, and other divisive issues.
Mr DeSantis is considered to be Mr Trump’s strongest Republican rival even as the governor faces questions about his readiness for the national stage.
Mr DeSantis’ audio-only announcement was to be streamed on Twitter Spaces beginning at 6pm EDT. He was following up with prime-time appearances on conservative programmes, including Fox News and Mark Levin’s radio show.
Mr DeSantis’ entry into the Republican field has been rumoured for months and he is considered one of the party’s strongest candidates in the quest to retake the White House from Democratic President Joe Biden.
The 80-year-old incumbent, Republicans say, has pushed the nation too far left while failing to address inflation, immigration and crime.
The Republican nominee will face Mr Biden on the general election ballot in November 2024.
Mr DeSantis begins his campaign in a top-tier of two alongside Mr Trump based on early public polling, fundraising and campaign infrastructure.
The two GOP powerhouses have much in common.
Mr DeSantis, who likely would not have become the Florida governor without Mr Trump’s endorsement, has adopted the former president’s fiery personality, his populist policies and even some of his rhetoric and mannerisms.
Yet Mr DeSantis has one thing Mr Trump does not: a credible claim that he may be more el