By Allyn Tucker
Boston University News Service
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has ended his presidential campaign after falling far behind former President Donald Trump in the Iowa Caucus.
The 45-year-old father of three, most notable for his gubernatorial tenure, is a familiar political figure to many Americans with over a decade’s worth of experience in the political sphere. Before he began his presidential campaign, the public regarded him as the biggest threat to Trump’s resurgence as the dominant politician of the Republican Party.
The Florida governor was born and raised in the Sunshine State, excelling both academically and athletically throughout his childhood. DeSantis earned a bachelor’s degree from Yale University, where he captained varsity baseball, before attending Harvard Law School.
During his time at Harvard, DeSantis earned a commission as an officer in the U.S. Navy as a member of the Judge Advocates Generals Corps. His military experience includes working in the Guantanamo Bay Joint Detention Center before being deployed to Iraq in 2008.
Following his honorable discharge in 2010, DeSantis briefly worked as a federal prosecutor before campaigning to become the U.S. Representative of Florida’s sixth district. When he was elected in 2012, he became a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus, the most conservative caucus within the House of Representatives. His time as a representative saw him emphasize the limitation of government programs, such as Medicare and Social Security.
In 2018, DeSantis was elected to be the next governor of Florida, where he has left a long-standing impact on the state’s political and social landscapes.
“My election as governor in the nation’s third-largest state is proof that, regardless of where you start out in life, if you work hard… you can succeed in the United States,” DeSantis said in his victory speech. “We’ll hold people in government accountable, we’ll protect tax-payer dollars, and we’ll ensure that Floridians from all walks of life have that open field and fair change to realize their dreams”
Since he took on this gubernatorial role, DeSantis has waged what he refers to as the war on “woke.” He emphasized his distrust in the media, contending the vaccination and isolation recommendations from doctors and taking the state out of lockdown after two months of the COVID-19 Pandemic. One of the most notable of his actions as governor is the “Don’t Say Gay” law, formally known as the Parental Rights in Education bill. The passing of this law severely limited discussion about gender identity as well as other prominent LGBTQIA+ causes.
In addition to “Don’t Say Gay,” DeSantis has proudly placed limits on African American History in the education system and pulled funding from diversity, equity and inclusion programs. He is also a big advocate for limiting women’s reproductive rights, banning abortion after six weeks in what is known as the Heartbeat Protection Act.
When DeSantis publicized his presidential campaign in May 2023, there were issues present from the start. His announcement, which streamed live on X, saw extreme technical difficulties leaving many voters skeptical of his chances for success early in his campaign.
Ahead of the Iowa Caucus, DeSantis was the only presidential candidate who visited all 99 of the state’s counties, but his efforts went relatively unnoticed. Trump defeated DeSantis by upwards of 30 points in the polls, representing his minimal chance of winning the Republican nomination.
On Sunday, DeSantis suspended his campaign, citing his loss in Iowa as the final proponent of his decision.
“If there was anything I could do to produce a favorable outcome… I would do it, but I can’t ask our supporters to volunteer their time and donate their resources if we don’t have a clear path to victory,” DeSantis said in his suspension speech.
In the same speech, posted on X, DeSantis announced his cordial endorsement of Trump. Though acknowledging their disagreements on the pandemic, he said he believes Trump is the best-equipped candidate to earn the Republican nomination.
“While I’ve had disagreements with Donald Trump… [he] is superior to the current incumbent, Joe Biden,” DeSantis said in his endorsement statement. “He has my endorsement because we can’t go back to the old Republican guard of yesteryear… which Nikki Hayley represents.”