On Tuesday, Donna Deegan defeated Daniel Davis to become mayor of Jacksonville, Florida. She is the first democrat to be elected to that seat in a decade. Republicans have held the mayoral seat for 26 of the last 30 years. Ron DeSantis won Duval County by 12 points in 2022.
Despite his major victory not one year ago and despite the fact that Governor DeSantis is the highest ranking elected republican in the state and also despite the fact that Jacksonville is the largest city in Florida, people on the ground are saying Ron DeSantis did not campaign at all for Davis and did not show up to Jacksonville to get-out-the-vote or energize support for Davis on election day or during the cycle.
Some are asking: Where was Ron DeSantis? Why did he think it wasn’t important to protect the largest City in America still run by a republican? Where is Ron DeSantis even now?
Ron DeSantis has been on a book tour claiming to not be currently funding a 2024 presidential campaign. Over the course of this tough Mayoral election season in the biggest swing county in Florida, DeSantis thought it was more important to “not run for president” in South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New York, Georgia, Ohio, Texas and Iowa. He was even out of the country in Israel and Japan. Some would say that’s a pretty tight schedule focusing on his own political advancement and prestige (whether it’s a book or a presidential run) instead of the people who elected him only 6 months ago.
Some are wondering what this means for Ron DeSantis’s political future from 2024 ambition to beyond. Was his lack of presence in Jacksonville a critical strategic mistake? Was it a betrayal of the people who supported him in 2022? Where is Ron headed?