Congressman Ron DeSantis (R-FL) took some time away from “the swamp” Saturday, June 23 to garner support at home for his gubernatorial campaign. With multiple meet-and-greet events scheduled throughout the day, the Palm Coast resident chose to make his first stop in Ponte Vedra Beach at the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa.
Joining DeSantis on the campaign trail Saturday was Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), a congressional freshman who helped to fire up the crowd, stating, “We’ve got enough folks in Congress and enough folks in politics who sit on the sidelines, who sit on the back row. … Ron DeSantis is the type of man who leads from the front, and that is exactly the type of governor we need in the great state of Florida.”
Contrasting DeSantis against his Republican primary opponent, Adam Putnam, Gaetz added, “I’ve seen more leadership from Ron DeSantis in 17 months than I ever saw from Adam Putnam in six whole years.”
Putnam, who is currently Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture, previously represented Florida’s 12th District in Congress and earlier served as a member of the Florida House of Representatives.
DeSantis, however, characterized Putnam as an “establishment” candidate, whom he contended could not be the leader that Florida needs.
“Whoever wins will get the title ‘governor,’ there’s no doubt about that,” DeSantis said. “But, we need someone who, yes, will have the title of governor, but will be a leader as governor. And I’ll be that guy.”
Praising current Gov. Rick Scott for his leadership during his two terms, DeSantis said that, if elected, he intended to continue Scott’s conservative agenda by keeping taxes low, nominating conservative constitutionalists to Florida’s Supreme Court and supporting the president’s immigration policies.
Also highlighting education as a major issue, DeSantis denounced the institution of Common Core in Florida’s school system and expressed his support for prioritizing vocational training. Additionally, he stressed the importance of teaching students the core values America was founded upon.
“Ronald Reagan pointed out (that) freedom is only one generation away from extinction — it’s not passed along in the bloodstream,” he said. “We, as adults and as voters and as Republicans, we have an obligation to make sure that the next generation understands those values and is going to be willing to defend those values, as well.”
Desantis’ visit to Ponte Vedra Beach came a day after he received a glowing endorsement from President Donald Trump via Twitter.
“Congressman Ron DeSantis, a top student at Yale and Harvard Law School, is running for governor of the great state of Florida,” Trump tweeted on June 22. “Ron is strong on borders, tough on crime and big on cutting taxes — loves our military and our vets. He will be a great governor and has my full endorsement!”
Not the first time Trump has publicly supported DeSantis, the president previously tweeted on Dec. 22 that the congressman was a “brilliant young leader,” and that he would “make a great governor of Florida.”
In addition to DeSantis, Putnam and other Republican challengers, there are several Democrats vying to be Florida’s next governor, including Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, former Congresswoman Gwen Graham, businessman Chris King and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine.
FOX News will host a televised gubernatorial primary debate for the Republican candidates at 6:30 p.m. EST on Thursday, June 28 in Orlando.
The primary election is set for Aug. 28.