by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
It took less than a year for Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R-FL) 2024 political fortunes to sour, but the governor has wasted even less time trying to change his luck before 2028.
DeSantis, seemingly unfazed by his campaign and super PAC’s combined $160 million doomed bid against former President Donald Trump, has reemerged from the primary, ready to defend his record in Florida, likely in preparation for the 2028 cycle.
Two weeks after he suspended his campaign following his distant second-place finish behind Trump in Iowa, DeSantis has remained in national news headlines as he criticizes President Joe Biden and the former president, from scrutinizing Biden’s immigration and border policies to the latter’s general election chances in November.
But the governor has also remained prominent in social media feeds with, for example, videos of him and his son, demonstrating a more human side of him that supporters had hoped would have been more apparent as a candidate.
DeSantis has “a lot” of political reputation rehabilitation ahead of him during his last three years as Florida’s governor, a term-limited post, regardless of his future aspirations, according to Republican strategist Susan Del Percio.
“The campaign trail is grueling, so it makes sense that he is a bit more relaxed now that he’s had some time to recharge his batteries,” Del Percio told the Washington Examiner. “On the other hand, he will miss the national attention and probably will seek it by means of legislation or political actions.”
A source close dismissed the idea DeSantis required “rehabilitation” and downplayed speculation regarding his next steps, also using the word “relaxed” to describe the governor.
“He isn’t on the road for weeks on end anymore doing nonstop events and traveling,” the source said. “He’s in Florida being governor and hasn’t missed a beat when it comes to delivering results.”