Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is officially kicking off his re-election bid to lead the Sunshine State again on Monday after his term ends in January 2023.
He announced his candidacy on Facebook late this morning, writing ‘Florida’s future is on the line, and we have too much to lose to stop now. I’ve fought like hell to keep Florida free and I can tell you this: I’ve only begun to fight!’
‘Election Day is exactly 1 year away and freedom is on the ballot. Let’s do this’
On the same day he also rolled out four new legislative proposals aimed at blocking President Joe Biden‘s sweeping vaccine mandates that could see hundreds of people who refuse to get vaccinated lose their jobs.
‘When I became governor, I pledged to foster economic opportunity, support K-12 education, usher in a new era for Florida’s Everglades and water resources, ensure the integrity of our elections and stand for public safety and the rule of law,’ DeSantis said in a statement announcing his candidacy to Fox News.
The governor said he ‘delivered on all fronts.’
‘Florida’s economy is strong, we’ve boosted teacher pay, made historic investments in Everglades restoration and water quality, signed strong election integrity legislation, provided unparalleled support for law enforcement and appointed strong constitutionalists to our state courts,’ he said.
DeSantis unveiled on Monday a series of measures aimed at rendering Biden’s vaccine mandate for private businesses nearly ineffective
The same day, he announced his campaign to be re-elected Florida governor and warned voters that ‘freedom is on the ballot’
DeSantis also championed his refusal to impose any kind of COVID-19 mandates that would shut businesses and schools, despite infections at one point ballooning in his state.
We’ve also taken on Big Tech censorship, banned sanctuary cities, ensured that municipalities cannot defund law enforcement and stood up to the Biden regime,’ he added.
The message finished: ‘And I’ve only just begun to fight.’
Much of his fighting so far has been with the Democrats in Washington, DC, as one of more than two dozen governors fighting back against Biden’s sweeping vaccine order.
In early September Biden imposed a vaccine mandate on federal employees and health care workers whose facilities receive Medicare or Medicaid dollars.
Perhaps the most controversial is Biden’s directive to his Labor Department’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) to draw up a rule requiring all private companies with 100 or more employees to either have them all fully vaccinated by January 4 – or force them to submit to weekly COVID-19 testing.
Along with suing the administration over the vaccine requirements for federal contractors, DeSantis unveiled a series of bills aimed at outlawing the private company mandates during a press conference on Monday.
‘This will be probably the strongest protections for both private and public sector employees anywhere in the country,’ DeSantis promised.
He’s one of dozens of GOP officials around the country trying to battle Joe Biden over his requirement that all private companies with 100 or more employees either instill vaccine mandates or require employees to submit to weekly COVID-19 testing
They would carve out a wide array of exceptions for who needs to be vaccinated, including exemptions for pregnant women, religious exclusions, past COVID-19 sufferers and for those who can obtain doctor’s notes objecting to the jab.
If passed the legislation would also allow workers to side-step vaccine mandates by promising to wear personal protective equipment provided by their workplace.
The measures would also allow for the creation of Florida’s own OSHA, and take away the state Surgeon General’s ability to call for broad vaccine mandates.
DeSantis called for a special session of Florida’s state legislature to start on November 15 to take up his bills.
‘We’ve got to stop bossing people around. We’ve got to stop the coercion. We’ve got to stop browbeating people,’ he said at his press conference.
His pieces of legislation even go beyond the OSHA mandate, banning local governments and school systems from putting their own vaccine requirements in place.
Employers that run afoul of Florida’s anti-mandate rules could be slapped with a fine as high as $50,000.
The US vaccination rate has been steadily rising after a sharp fall over the summer
DeSantis, who has also been floated as a potential 2024 White House candidate, is facing a crowded field of Democratic hopefuls looking to unseat him.
It’s unclear how his gubernatorial campaign will stack up with a presidential one. So far DeSantis has dismissed rumors that he’s eyeing the presidency. DailyMail.com has reached out to DeSantis’ office for comment.
The Florida Republican was a staunch ally of Donald Trump’s when he was in the White House. While the ex-president is still Republican voters’ runaway favorite for 2024, multiple polls that don’t factor him in show DeSantis with a majority of support.
So far only one Republican is looking to mount a primary challenge – John Joseph Mercadante, who DeSantis already beat in a 2018 primary race to eventually ascend to governor.
But it appears that he could face opposition in the form of fellow Trump ally and convicted felon Roger Stone.
Late last week Stone threatened to run for the Florida governorship just to take votes away from DeSantis, unless the governor pledges ‘to the people of Florida that he will fill out all four years of a second term.’
‘What I don’t want to see is for him to be reelected and then immediately abandon Florida to run off and run for president, particularly if he’s running against Donald Trump,’ Stone told CBS Miami.