Florida's Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, brought his battle against "woke ideology" to the swing states of Pennsylvania and Ohio Friday in support of GOP candidates ahead of the midterm elections.
"Stand your ground. Stand firm. Don't back down. We can do this," the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported DeSantis said Friday during a downtown Pittsburgh rally for GOP gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano. "I'm going to be working to keep the state of Florida free, and you guys have an opportunity to make Pennsylvania free."
According to The Hill, DeSantis specifically targeted "woke ideology" and called on Pennsylvania residents to push back, like he has in Florida.
"I think in Florida — and we need this to be true in Pennsylvania, around the country — we can't just stand idly by while woke ideology ravages every institution in our society," The Hill reported he said. "We must fight the woke in our schools. We must fight the woke in our businesses. We must fight the woke in government agencies. We can never ever surrender to woke ideology. And I'll tell you this, the state of Florida is where woke goes to die."
Following his stop in Pittsburgh, DeSantis was scheduled to attend a rally for Ohio GOP Senate candidate J.D. Vance in Youngstown.
According to The Hill, the swing Friday through two key battleground states is fueling speculation that DeSantis, who is running for a second term as governor in the Sunshine State this November, may be eyeing a presidential bid in 2024 and possibly going head-to-head with former President Donald Trump, should he run again.
The New York Times reported Friday that the sojourn to Pittsburgh and Youngstown could be an attempt to "wrest" control of the Republican Party away from Trump, who has not yet announced his intentions for 2024.
"DeSantis leans into and leads on the important policy issues people care about, but he does so without the off-putting craziness that turns off independent and swing voters — the people you need to win Pennsylvania," Matthew Brouillette, the leader of an influential conservative political group in that state told The Times. "They gave Trump a chance in 2016 but had enough in 2020. It's time to move on."
DeSantis' national profile increased significantly due to his pushing back hard on the COVID-19 restrictions and mandates enacted by the administration of President Joe Biden, as well as his efforts to pass legislation in regard to school districts keeping parents in the dark concerning information about their children that related to gender identity.
The Times reported that he has been able to raise more than $130 million in campaign funds from his rising national popularity.
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