EXCLUSIVE: Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida’s first ad reservation in his 2022 re-election campaign will be directed towards Spanish-speaking voters.
The popular first-term governor with a strong national conservative following announced on Wednesday that he’ll spend a massive $5.3 million to reserve ad time on Spanish language broadcast, cable, radio and digital to run campaign ads.
The governor’s political team, which shared their announcement first with Fox News, said their statewide ad reservations have a focus in the Orlando and Miami media markets. And the campaign noted that media reservation reflects DeSantis’ “commitment to communicating his “Keeping Florida Free” policy agenda to Spanish-speaking voters.
DeSantis, a former congressman who was narrowly elected Florida governor in 2018, isn’t expected to face as challenging a re-election fight. Florida used to be the nation’s biggest general election battleground, but it has increasingly trended red over the past couple of cycles. And DeSantis has seen his political stature dramatically soar over the past two years.
U.S. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, U.S. February 24, 2022. (Reuters)
An average of recent public opinion polling indicated DeSantis holding a nine-point lead over former governor and current Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist in a hypothetical general election showdown, with the governor up by double digits over two other leading Democratic gubernatorial candidates – Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and state Sen. Annette Taddeo, in potential November matchups.
And DeSantis has a huge fundraising advantage over his potential Democratic challengers. The governor – through his re-election campaign and Friends of Ron DeSantis, his political committee – by the end of March had hauled in over $100 million so far in the 2022 cycle.
In going up with their first spots in Spanish rather than English, the DeSantis campaign is signaling their strategy to further court Florida’s important and growing pool of Spanish-speaking voters.
Republicans have made gains with Spanish-speaking voters in recent elections cycles and are optimistic about making further gains this year. DeSantis won 44% of the Latino or Hispanic vote in his 2018 gubernatorial election victory, according to a Fox News Voter Analysis, which also indicated DeSantis narrowly edging Democratic nominee Andrew Gillum 50%-48% among Latino men.
And recent polling indicates DeSantis favorability among Hispanic voters in Florida on the rise while President Biden’s numbers have declined.
“As Joe Biden and the Democrat Party continue to lose their footing with the Hispanic community, Republicans are gaining and growing, the DeSantis campaign touted in an exclusive statement to Fox News.
“Spanish-speaking Hispanics in Florida and across the country are moving towards Governor Ron DeSantis because of his emphasis on economic opportunity, education, public safety, and other family-focused policies,” the campaign argued. “This is our first media investment of the campaign, proving the importance we are placing on sharing our freedom agenda with Spanish-speaking voters across the state of Florida.”
DeSantis has seen his popularity surge among Republican voters in his state and around the nation over the past two years, thanks in large part to his combative pushback against COVID-19 restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic as well as his aggressive actions in the culture wars.
While pundits see DeSantis as a likely 2024 GOP presidential contender, the governor has repeatedly deflected talk of a 2024 run, saying he’s concentrating on his gubernatorial re-election and telling Fox News that the next White House race is “way down the road. It’s not anything that I’m planning for.”
But the governor’s massive campaign war chest sends a signal to the rest of the potential 2024 Republican presidential field of DeSantis’ popularity, influence, and strength should he launch a White House campaign. And he consistently polls second to former President Donald Trump – who repeatedly flirts with making other White House run – in early 2024 GOP presidential nomination polls.
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