The relationship between Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and tech billionaire Elon Musk is attracting a new level of attention.
But even before DeSantis’ team confirmed his run for President would be announced during a Twitter Spaces conversation with Musk, there were signs of a brewing connection between the politician and the businessman.
“We’re working with Elon Musk, he’s got the Starlink satellites,” Governor DeSantis said in a press conference last fall, after Musk agreed to deliver 120 satellites to Southwest Florida to help Hurricane Ian victims get back online.
Then, this past legislative session, DeSantis’ GOP-led legislature appeared to give Musk a wink and a nod when they approved a bill to protect private spaceflight companies, like Space X, from getting sued if a crew member is killed or injured during a flight.
“There are two ways of looking at this relationship. One is that it's a purely political relationship and the other is that it's a business relationship. Frankly, it might be a combination of both,” said Palm Beach County-based political analyst Brian Crowley, who has covered Florida and national politics for more than three decades.
“All of a sudden Elon Musk, who has struggled with Twitter since his takeover, is going to wind up with this enormous interest in Twitter Spaces. And, of course, it never hurts a Presidential candidate to have a billionaire on his side who has a loud voice,” Crowley explained about the mutual benefits both Musk and DeSantis stand to gain from an alliance.
With 140 million plus Twitter followers, billions in the bank and a public disdain for former President Donald Trump, Musk’s influence on voters and big time donors could help DeSantis. But while he has previously stated support for a 2024 DeSantis run, Musk — who’s a self-described political moderate — has yet to fully endorse one candidate.
Recently, he also tweeted support for South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott, who announced his presidential campaign.
“You sort of get the feeling that he's [Musk] backing Ron DeSantis. He’s also indicated support for Tim Scott. So, you wonder, especially the way Elon Musk appears to think, how much of this is just a business relationship today,” asked Crowley.
Or, if it’s a longer-term strategy between a savvy businessman and an ambitious politician both looking to win.