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American Thinker
American Thinker
16 Dec 2023
Franklin Seneca

NextImg:The Next Ron DeSantis

Before he declared his intention to challenge former president Donald Trump for the 2024 presidential nomination, there was a widespread view among conservative commentators that Ron DeSantis was an invaluable, unique example of the principled leadership the country would need to move in the right direction.  But why should there be only one?

Reflecting on this point, conservative columnist Daniel Horowitz observed, “We only have one Ron DeSantis.  Every other governor is horrible on every issue that matters.”  Echoing this sentiment, MAGA firebrand Kari Lake drew the comparison during her campaign, suggesting she would be the “DeSantis of the West.”

Now, at a time when House Republicans in Washington show an apparent inability to advance lasting conservative policy reforms on the federal level, perhaps it is an opportune time to return some attention to the idea.  Where can we find the “next Ron DeSantis”?

To begin, the example of Ron DeSantis as governor is worth review insomuch as it reflects what can be accomplished with an effective application of conservative ideals to state level leadership.

Rising to prominence in 2020 for standing firm against federal pressure and authority to oppose long-termdangerous lockdown measures during the Wuhan coronavirus panic, DeSantis later solidified his notoriety with a series of conservative policy victories.

DeSantis earned praise for challenging left-wing policies being promulgated within youth and adult educational institutions, combating influential corporate cronyism, defunding ESG investments, removing political district attorneysprotecting law enforcement, stopping illegal immigration, defending parental rightsprotecting voters from left-leaning gerrymandering, and inspiring other red states, while challenging mainstream media narratives.  He so successfully implemented a conservative platform that it even caused CNN to “pay attention.”

Regardless of one’s opinion on his campaign for president, most patriots can appreciate the invaluable example of the America First, conservative leadership DeSantis provides for Republican governors in red states across the country.  An obvious goal for the America First movement should be to replicate that success each time an opportunity strikes — if not create these opportunities.

Good news for activists is that conservative principles are so popular within twenty-two states that Republicans hold trifecta control, with strong majorities in the state legislatures and the governorships.  The challenge will be to recruit and promote those DeSantis-style governors who are unafraid to fight for the voters against a hostile media establishment; the powerful, ingrained business interests; and federal encroachments. 

One such opportunity exists in Missouri, where the “Republican Party controls the offices of governor, secretary of state, attorney general, and both chambers of the state legislature” — and where, without much ado from most conservative media, there is an ongoing primary for the office of governor.

In this race, the strongest conservative contender for the position appears to be Air Force veteran and state senator Bill Eigel of St. Charles County, cut from the DeSantis-type mold.

Senator Eigel boasts a 94.34% conservative voting record according to the CPAC Center for Legislative Accountability and is willing to stand for conservative values in the face of GOP opposition. 

Jack Suntrup at the St. Louis Post Dispatch describes Eigel as “regularly on the offensive, jamming up legislative traffic in an attempt to advance the agenda of the Conservative Caucus he helped launch last year.  [The Conservative Caucus] routinely needles GOP leadership and others, pushing an agenda that supports charter schools and opposes income taxes and corporate incentives.”

When comparing the two conservative leaders on important issues and worldview, it is hard to miss some parallels. 

Like DeSantis, Eigel was an early leader in opposing vaccine mandates in the aftermath of the 2020 coronavirus panic.

In another familiar move, the state senator advanced legislation restricting the purchase of farmlands in the state by foreign investors.

Echoing the DeSantis move to reject federal funds and their correspondent regulations pushed by the Biden administration, Bill Eigel advocated for reduced dependence on federal funds while responding to constituent questions in St. Louis. 

“If we want to have more control over what is happening with the federal government, the first thing we have got to do is stop addicting ourselves to federal dollars coming out of Washington,” Eigel explained.  “We can’t act as a sovereign state if we are taking 50% of our budget from Washington, D.C.”

And in another move inspired by the DeSantis administration, Eigel proposes tackling an underreported issue for election integrity, by removing Missouri from the Election Registration Information Coalition (ERIC), a third-party out-of-state organization that collects private voter data and causes difficulty maintaining accurate voter rolls.

All in all, Eigel touts a bold conservative platform, including protecting election integrity, reducing oppressive taxes, fostering economic investment, protecting the rights of parents, and reforming education standards within the state.  He has also garnered praise and endorsements for his stance on traditional conservative values. 

During his most recent re-election campaign, Susan Klein, president of the Missouri Right to Life PAC, said, “Bill Eigel is one of the strongest pro-life voices in the Missouri Senate. ... He has consistently fought to protect innocent life and defund Planned Parenthood.  We’re proud to have endorsed him and encourage pro-life voters to strongly support his campaign.” 

At the same time, President Rick Inglima, on behalf of the Missouri Fraternal Order of Police, issued a statement defending Eigel against unfounded attacks.  In it the organization said, “We proudly endorse him ... [as] a proven champion for our members.” 

As far as America First patriot governors go, there is only one obvious area where Ron DeSantis would clash with Bill Eigel...and that is his choice for the upcoming presidential election. 

If Eigel can overcome the odds and become “the next Governor DeSantis,” it would be a great step in the right direction for the movement and Missouri.  The only issue then will be finding a few more like them for the remaining red states. 

Hopefully, in due time, we can find ourselves asking, “Where is the next Governor Eigel?”

Image: Bill Eigel.  Credit: Gage Skidmore via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.