Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis headlined a Pennsylvania event on Thursday night where he hinted at his future political ambitions, proclaiming, “I have only begun to fight.”
The 42-year-old governor spoke at the Republican Committee of Allegheny County’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner, where his remarks resembled a campaign speech, according to NBC News.
“While in all these lockdown states closed schools, shuttered businesses and destroyed lives were the norm, in Florida, we’ve had schools open the entire school year,” DeSantis said.
“Our businesses are thriving and we’ve saved millions of livelihoods from the brunt of lockdowns, and all I can say to any state that has not followed suit: Open your state. Open your schools. Take off these mask mandates. Let people live and thrive,” he added.
DeSantis highlighted his work to free citizens during the pandemic, contrasting Florida’s efforts to locked-down states like Pennsylvania.
“We did not suppress our society. Our schools have been open.”
The governor said, “Every parent has a right to send their kid to school in person in the state of Florida.”
His speech brought resounding applause as he concluded, “I can tell you this: In the state of Florida, with me as governor, I have only begun to fight.”
CNN noted the Florida governor’s rising popularity among conservatives: “Among the party’s conservative base, DeSantis has emerged as an heir apparent to the former President.”
The outlet added, “While Trump easily won this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference’s unscientific straw poll for the 2024 presidential nomination, a second poll question excluded Trump — and DeSantis lapped the field of White House potentials with 43% support.”
DeSantis continues to hold strong popularity in his own state as well.
According to Peter Schorsch, the publisher of Florida Politics, polling found that as of earlier this month, DeSantis had a 55 percent approval rating in the Sunshine State. Even 22 percent of Democratic voters said they approved of the job he was doing.
The Florida Chamber of Commerce’s poll found that 88 percent of Republican voters polled approved of the job DeSantis is doing, while 57 percent of unaffiliated voters also approved. Overall, the poll found that only 40 percent of Florida voters disapproved of the job DeSantis is doing, while 70 percent approved of his handling of vaccine distributions.
That’s great news for the governor and potential 2024 or 2028 GOP presidential contender.
.@GovRonDeSantis job approval is currently at 55%.
He receives 88% support from Republicans and 57% support from NPAs. pic.twitter.com/V568lcEga9
— Peter Schorsch (@PeterSchorschFL) May 12, 2021
Florida Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Mark Wilson commented on the results of the poll.
“As I’ve said for over a year, under the leadership of Gov. DeSantis, Florida continues moving in the right direction and serving as the national model for COVID-19 recovery while other states chose fear over facts,” Wilson said.
“Gov. DeSantis’ strong approval ratings show Florida’s voters and Florida’s business community are united around his leadership in protecting Floridians and Florida’s economy.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.