No Signs of Ron DeSantis Slowing Down in 2014
Around the State
Running for his second term in Congress, conservative rising star Ron DeSantis should easily be able to keep his seat this year.
DeSantis has clearly discarded the old congressional rule demanding freshman members should be seen and not heard. Almost every week, DeSantis can be seen on the national cable talk shows, pounding away at Lois Lerner, Eric Holder and Obamacare.
DeSantis has been doing a good job of keeping his campaign coffers well-stocked. By the end of March, he had brought in more than $822,000, including almost $481,000 from individuals and almost $333,000 in PAC money. So far, DeSantis has kept his powder dry, keeping $672,674 in the bank at the end of last month. He’ll be hard to beat in this strong Republican district which goes only along the Atlantic coast from Jacksonville to Daytona Beach.
Having lost to John Mica in 2010 and DeSantis last time out, Beaven has said no to a third congressional bid, but Democrats do have a candidate in educator David Cox. Getting some support from LGBT activists within the Democratic ranks, Cox is going all out in the coming days to make sure he qualifies for the ballot by the May 2 deadline.
Cox is a hard-working candidate and is trying to build an effective grassroots outfit behind him. He’s certainly well-known in Volusia County through his work for Bethune Cookman. But Cox is largely unknown in the northern part of the district and, so far, he has done little to show he can raise money to expand his outreach to the Jacksonville market. By the end of March, Cox had barely cleared raising $15,000 and only had $3,350 on hand.
To be sure, Cox is shrewd enough to portray himself as an educator and not a politician and is an attractive candidate. But he might have bitten off more than he can chew in his first rodeo. He might have done better had he set his sights a little lower, to a county or legislative race. While Cox is an energetic and hard-working challenger, he is fighting an uphill battle and his poor fundraising start isn’t helping his chances for making this race competitive.
Regardless of what Cox does, look for DeSantis to go all out as he seeks to raise his profile. DeSantis should be a factor in future elections for Republicans though he doesn’t seem to be keeping an eye on Tallahassee so far in his brief political career. If DeSantis does have higher ambitions -- and he does have the background to make a state attorney general bid in 2018 and has to be listed as a possibility in future Senate races -- then he’ll have an excellent opportunity to lay the groundwork for them this year.
Tallahassee-based political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis exclusively for Sunshine State News.