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DeSantis files paperwork, to enter US presidential race

Florida governor Ron DeSantis has filed a declaration of candidacy for US president, entering the race as Donald Trump’s top Republican rival.

May 25, 2023
25 May 2023

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has made his entrance into the 2024 presidential race official ahead of an event on Twitter with Elon Musk where he is expected to publicly announce his campaign.

DeSantis, 44, filed a document with the Federal Election Commission declaring his candidacy. 

His long-expected foray changes the shape of the contest for the Republican nomination, as he likely will emerge as former US president Donald Trump’s biggest rival.

The nominee will face President Joe Biden, a Democrat, in the November 2024 general election.

Musk, the CEO of Tesla and Twitter with 140 million Twitter followers, said his own appearance will not constitute an endorsement but will reflect his desire to make the service more of a town square.

The Twitter event is at 6pm on Wednesday (8am AEST on Thursday).

DeSantis on Wednesday will also convene a meeting of his top donors at a Miami hotel, where they will immediately launch his fundraising efforts.

DeSantis’ central argument for his candidacy likely will be that he is the only Republican who can defeat Biden, the winner over Trump in the 2020 election.

“We must reject the culture of losing that has impacted our party in recent years. The time for excuses is over,” DeSantis said at an event in Iowa earlier this month.

In the weeks leading up to his presidential bid, DeSantis has toured the country, visiting states such as Iowa and New Hampshire that will hold early nominating contests. 

He has boasted of his record as Florida’s governor, including his battles with the federal government over pandemic policies.

His decision to wait until now to jump in has given Trump space to batter DeSantis with a series of attacks, costing the governor standing in polls and frustrating some allies who might have preferred DeSantis step into the ring earlier.

A pro-Trump Super PAC called MAGA Inc has already spent more than $US14 million ($A21 million) on television ads and other media attacking DeSantis, according to disclosures to the Federal Election Commission.

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