Floridians Share Anxieties, Expectations Upon DeSantis’ Return From Presidential Campaign

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February 19, 2024

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(ORLANDO, Fla.) —  Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis on Jan. 21 returned to the Sunshine State after dropping out of the 2024 presidential race. His return brings concerns around his self-proclaimed “war on woke” and hope that his priorities will shift to what some Floridians feel are the more important issues: a property insurance crisis, housing affordability, and climate change leading to stronger and more frequent hurricanes battering the peninsula. 

Democratic State Rep. Anna Eskamani of Orlando is concerned about DeSantis’ prioritizing of culture war issues over the issues Floridians express as most pressing and impactful to them. 

“My first reaction was that a hurt dog can whimper or bite, so it’s hard to know how he will react,” she told The Click adding that, “He’s ignoring what constituents really need. I think people are pretty tired of it.” 

Bob Berger, a retired teacher in Orlando, has first- hand experience with the effects of the policies put in place by the DeSantis administration, especially around censorship of books in public schools. “I know a number of teachers who removed books and boxed them up, instead of having to submit ‘lists’,” he said. “The return of the governor is bad news for Florida.  I feel as if he’s going to continue trying to impress the far right, most likely to make sure he can run for a higher office again.”

Mildred Fernandez, a former Orange County commissioner and volunteer with the Orange County Republican Party, is eager for DeSantis to double down on his education policies. “This is a very dangerous situation that we’re going through in the state of Florida. I’m glad we have DeSantis fighting back,” she said. “I think his focus is going to be all on parental rights in schools.” 

As for what’s next, DeSantis posted a video on X Jan.21, saying, “While this campaign has ended, the mission continues. Down here in Florida, we will continue to show the country how to lead.” The remarks indicated his intent to continue his agenda against perceived “woke” initiatives and legislation.

DeSantis launched his ill-fated presidential campaign last May. He received only 21.2% of the vote in the Jan. 15 Iowa Caucuses compared to former president Donald Trump’s 51%.  Six days later he dropped out of the race and returned to Florida.

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