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Once upon a time not too long ago — January, say — the sky looked like the limit for Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ presidential ambitions.
Not only had DeSantis crushed it in the 2022 midterms — winning a second term in the governor’s mansion by nearly 20 points after only narrowly beating Andrew Gillum in 2018 and turning deep blue areas of the Sunshine State Republican red — his chief opponent, former President Donald Trump, decidedly did not.
In several key races, Trump’s candidates faltered. Anti-Trump Republicans were quick to blame the former president for losing the Senate — and they may not have been wrong, considering the underwhelming performance of Trump-endorsed candidates like Blake Masters in Arizona, Herschel Walker in Georgia and Dr. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania. Polls showed DeSantis closing in on Trump, if not outright leading in some cases.
Then, as soon as the Ron wave started, it began to peter out. Trump regained his footing, helped in no small part by an absurd indictment by Soros-funded Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg over non-disclosure payments made to Stormy Daniels and several other women. The rallies were back, as was the pugnacious side of The Donald. DeSantis, meanwhile, had yet to even declare.
But, on Wednesday evening, he made it official — and, not only that, but he eschewed the usual candidacy-announcement rally. No, shortly after he posted a video making his presidential challenge official, he sat down with Elon Musk and others in a Twitter Spaces streaming conversation.
That was certainly a way to make headlines, both for DeSantis and for Musk: “Will Elon Musk Break the Legacy Media Stranglehold?” read the headline of a Ben Shapiro Op-Ed, which noted that “DeSantis’ decision represents yet another blow to the power of the legacy media.” Axios, meanwhile, declared that Twitter’s coup meant that “Elon Musk has displaced Rupert Murdoch and Fox News as the king of conservative media in recent weeks.”
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