U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., announced on Wednesday that he was running for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who is running for the presidency.
America needs a new generation of leaders to address the big issues facing the country: alleviating the middle-class squeeze and promoting economic opportunity, confronting the significant national security challenges threatening the safety of our people, and reforming the culture of Washington, D.C., DeSantis said on Wednesday. As a candidate for Senate, I look forward to offering reforms based on limited government principles that will make our country stronger and more prosperous. I see a bright future for Florida and for America and my campaign will be about the ideas and principles that will help us achieve a more perfect union.
Only 36, DeSantis was first elected to Congress in 2012 after studying at Yale and Harvard Law and serving in the Navy JAG Corps. Before winning a seat in Congress, DeSantis wrote Dreams From Our Founding Fathers: First Principles in the Age of Obama pushing back at President Barack Obamas Dreams from My Father memoir. One of the founders of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, DeSantis chairs the House Homeland Security Subcommittee and is the vice chairman of the House Constitution and Civil Justice Subcommittee.
When he announced last month that he was exploring running for the Senate, DeSantis was encouraged to enter by several national conservative groups.Activists and leaders from Conservative Review, FreedomWorks, the Madison Project, the Club for Growth and Citizens United wanted DeSantis to enter the race.
The Senate Conservatives Fund also quickly got behind DeSantis. Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the president of the SCF, said DeSantis brings a great deal to the political table.
Ron has a strong conservative record in the House, he listens to the grassroots in Florida, and has the ability to win this important race, Cuccinelli said last month after DeSantis announced he was exploring a Senate bid.
DeSantis is the first major Republican candidate to enter the contest. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, state CFO Jeff Atwater, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla., and former Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford have all closed the door on running for the Senate. Other possible Republican candidates who could run include former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, R-Fla., U.S. Rep. Curt Clawson, R-Fla., U.S. Rep. David Jolly, R-Fla., U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, former Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum and former Florida Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville.
On the Democratic side, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., entered the race in March. U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., has opened the door to running for the Senate.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter: @KevinDerbySSN