COLUMBIA, SC — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis filed Tuesday for the Republican primary in South Carolina, becoming the first major party presidential candidate to officially vote for the first contest in the region. Male.
DeSantis signed his submissions during a stop at the South Carolina Republican Party headquarters in Columbia, flanked by supporters including state lawmakers who endorsed his bid.
The filing comes at a pivotal time for DeSantis and his campaign as the governor makes his third trip through South Carolina as a hopeful White House. He entered the race in May expecting to become the top threat to former President Donald Trump. But DeSantis has struggled to counter Trump, who holds the lead in the primaries, and has recently begun to cut campaign staff.
He returned to campaign testing on Monday, when he hosted an event in Tega Cay, an affluent community on Lake Wylie along the state line with North Carolina.
After about half an hour of remarks in which he pressed on the main points of his cryptic speech, DeSantis also received several questions from the crowd of about 900 who had gathered to hear him. Questioners included a woman who described herself as a “whole Trump supporter” who said that the 2024 election represented “the most important vote we will ever have” and that she felt DeSantis “did an excellent job” in making her candidacy case.
In his response, DeSantis condemned what he described as “weaponization of government” in the legal cases brought against Trump, echoing a stance the former president had honed in the articles. his own statements following his indictment of federal charges.
“I appreciate what President Trump has done. … He was mistreated, he was treated in unconstitutional ways,” DeSantis said. “Here’s the problem — the question for us now is, what are we going to do about it?… The problem isn’t with me, it’s with you. It’s with me standing up for you, supporting you. uphold the Constitution and restore this country to what its founders envisioned.”
Late Tuesday in West Columbia, DeSantis — a former Navy officer who served in the Naval Judges Advisory Corps in Iraq — set out to launch what he said was a plan to reform the U.S. military. too focused on diversity and inclusion efforts.
On Monday night, DeSantis previewed those plans, saying that as commander in chief he would “rip apart” an army that today is filled with “social experimentation, ideology, awakened agenda, pronoun, drag queen.” The rollout, along with a rare press conference, was scheduled for a stop at the Freedom Celebration Foundation. The nonprofit, founded by retired military leaders, says on its website that it aims to “honor the pioneers of aviation and inspire pioneers in the field of aviation.” future aeronautics and space” through a STEM outreach program geared toward K-12 students.
The rollout is DeSantis’ second official policy statement on the campaign. In June, he outlined his immigration proposals — calling for an end to birthright citizenship and the completion of construction of the southern border wall — during a visit to a Texas border city.
South Carolina is set to hold the GOP presidential primaries on February 24. The state also boasts two homegrown 2024 candidates — former Governor Nikki Haley and Senator Tim Scott — very important to the Republican presidential candidates and has been a strong contender. base of support for Trump in his previous campaigns.
Meg Kinnard can be obtained at