A political action committee supporting Ron DeSantis for the GOP nomination purchased a set of TV ads to air in four key early-voting states, marking the latest sign that the Florida governor is preparing to launch a presidential bid.
The group, called Never Back Down, produced the ads to target voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada, with each ad specifically tailored to the states’ electorates. The ad features workers in a steel mill while touting DeSantis’s “blue-collar roots” and conservative background.
“Steel isn't forged overnight. But after all the mining, blasting, and casting is done, it’s strong. It lasts,” the narrator in the ad says. “Ron DeSantis never backs down because his backbone wasn’t forged overnight. Conservative warrior always, Ron DeSantis is the president America needs.”
The ad touts DeSantis’s legislative record in Florida, including his targeting “woke” policies in schools and businesses, as well as his efforts to crack on COVID-19 restrictions. Each of the ads is virtually identical, except they feature landmarks from the individual states they are set to air in.
The ads are meant to tell the personal story of DeSantis and boost his national standing by giving a “sense of who Ron DeSantis really is,” the group told USA Today.
DeSantis has not yet indicated whether he intends to run for president, but the Florida governor is expected to make a decision shortly after the Florida legislature adjourns in May. The anticipated decision comes as DeSantis has been slipping in the polls in recent weeks as former President Donald Trump ramps up attacks against the Florida governor and benefits from increased media exposure over his criminal indictment.
More than half (51%) of Republican voters say they’d back Trump compared to just 38% who said they’d vote for DeSantis, giving the former president a substantial lead over his closest rival, according to a recent poll from the Wall Street Journal. The polling shows significant growth for Trump, who trailed DeSantis by 14 points in a similar poll in December.
However, DeSantis benefits from higher favorability ratings among GOP voters, with a majority of Republicans acknowledging he would have a better chance of defeating President Joe Biden in the general election. About 41% say DeSantis would be a stronger opponent compared to just 31% who say the same for Trump, the poll showed.
DeSantis has spurred talks of a forthcoming presidential announcement after the Florida governor met with several GOP lawmakers in Washington, D.C., this week. However, that plan seemed to backfire in some cases after a handful of Republicans publicly endorsed Trump just hours after meeting with the Florida governor.
More than 50 Republican House members have endorsed Trump for the GOP nomination compared to just three for DeSantis. Among those, 10 Republican House members from DeSantis’s home turf in Florida have offered their support to Trump over the state’s governor.