TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, a potential 2024 presidential candidate, was sworn in to a second term Tuesday, saying freedom lives in Florida.
The ceremony took place after Florida's three independently election Cabinet members were sworn in. He took his oath in front of the state's historic Capitol, where the main street through the city was renamed Ron DeSantis Way for the day.
DeSantis defeated Democrat Charlie Crist, a former Republican governor and Democratic congressman, by more than 29 percentage points in November. It was a huge blowout in a state known for close elections, and other Republicans on the statewide ballot won by similar margins.
Along the way, DeSantis has built a national image, often traveling the country fundraising for himself or campaigning for other candidates.
DeSantis used an endorsement by then-President Donald Trump to come out of nowhere to win the 2018 governor's race in an election so close it required a recount. DeSantis built his popularity largely on fighting COVID-19 restrictions, constantly attacking President Joe Biden and being vocal on issues like illegal immigration, giving parents more control over school books and instruction, policies seen as anti-LGBTQ.
Politically, DeSantis has helped make the state more conservative by getting involved in local politics and reshaping school boards and taking full control of the rewriting congressional maps to give Republicans more power in the U.S. House.
The man who can credit Trump for his success now is seen as the top Republican to challenge him in 2024.
Florida's legislative session begins in two months, and DeSantis is promising legislation that will create what he calls family friendly tax cuts, expand gun rights and make it more difficult for teachers to join unions.
While he hasn't announced details, DeSantis has also said he supports additional restrictions on abortions.
Anthony Izaguirre And Brendan Farrington, The Associated Press