The "Ready for Ron" political action committee supporting Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis' presidential prospects says the Federal Election Commission is trying to hinder the Republican from entering the 2024 race for the White House.
Officials from the PAC claim the FEC won't allow "Ready for Ron" to present its petition to DeSantis' team, urging the Florida Republican to pursue the White House in two years.
The "Ready for Ron" PAC reportedly contains a list of more than 58,000 names, emails, and addresses on DeSantis' behalf.
According to Ready for Ron, more than 350 candidates have already formally declared to run for president in 2024, but none include DeSantis, who's arguably the second-most popular Republican personality right now — after former President Donald Trump, who helped DeSantis win the Florida gubernatorial race in 2018.
In May, Ready for Ron wrote the FEC with the following rationale: "President Donald Trump, who became a candidate for re-election mere hours after his 2017 Inauguration, is not among the 367 current candidates in the 2024 presidential election.
"Consequently, R4R has organized as a 'draft committee' that seeks to encourage Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is also not a candidate for president and has not expressed any intention to run for president."
The FEC has reportedly drafted two responses to Ready for Run's claims.
The first response would ban giving the petition to DeSantis outright, arguing its value might exceed campaign contributions.
The second draft would allow the free transfer, but only before DeSantis launches an exploratory committee.
In a letter shared with Secrets, Ready for Run has urged the FEC to scrap "Draft A" (the first response) and approve "Draft B" (second response) — but only if it is modified to OK the transfer of the petition, even if DeSantis begins exploring a 2024 bid.
"The Commission should modify Draft B, however, to recognize RFR may provide its petition, along with the names and contact information for its signatories, to Governor DeSantis even if he: (i) begins testing the waters and/or (ii) becomes a candidate. Neither the Federal Election Campaign Act nor FEC regulations empowers the Commission to regulate, much less prohibit, political petitions to draft potential candidates," read the Ready for Ron memo.
The Ready for Ron group might have some political precedent on its side.
The group maintains it's following the blueprint of the "Ready for Hillary" PAC from 2014-15, which got the proverbial ball rolling on Hillary Clinton's presidential run as the Democratic Party nominee in 2016.
"The FEC is flat-out wrong,” said political law attorney Dan Backer, who represents the Ready for Ron PAC.
PAC petitions possess cursory value, and merely possess a ballpark framework of the type of support Gov. DeSantis might receive over the next two years, argues Backer.
"This isn't a contributor list or a member list. It's a list of people who signed a petition saying give my information to Ron DeSantis because I want him to run for president," Backer told Secrets.
There are three constitutional requirements for running for president in the United States:
- The candidate must be a natural-born citizen.
- He/she must be at least 35 years old, at the time of that year's Election Night.
- The candidate must have been a U.S. resident for at least 14 years.
And according to USA.gov, "Anyone who meets these requirements can declare their candidacy for president. Once a candidate raises or spends more than $5,000 for their campaign, they must register with the Federal Election Commission. That includes naming a principal campaign committee to raise and spend campaign funds."
Florida's DeSantis will face Democrat challenger Charlie Crist in the November gubernatorial election.
Real Clear Politics has DeSantis as a prohibitive favorite to garner reelection, possessing an aggregate lead of 9.6 percentage points.
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