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After Twitter trouble, DeSantis takes presidential campaign on 4-day blitz of early states

'We don't want a candidate that can't win the general election,' Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez says
Posted at 6:37 PM, May 25, 2023

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Day one wasn’t the best for Florida's governor. His presidential launch on Twitter gained the attention of millions, but maybe for the wrong reasons as tech issues hindered liftoff.

Either way, it's a new day, and Gov. Ron DeSantis has a plan to blitz early primary states in the coming week.

His campaign on Thursday announced "Our Great American Comeback Tour." Kicking off next Tuesday, the four-day, 12-city blitz of early states South Carolina, New Hampshire and Iowa makes clear the governor's focus is to win an upset at the start of the battle for the Republican nomination.

"We don't want to be stuck in the past," said Lt. Gov. Jeanette Núñez, who announced her support for DeSantis a day earlier. "We don't want a candidate that can't win the general election. We want someone that has the results, that has the courage, that is shown that he could get things done."

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a news conference at Cambridge Christian School in Tampa on May 17, 2023.jpg

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DeSantis also wasn't waiting for departure north to get on the airwaves. Day two of his run for president saw a dozen radio and TV interviews. The Republican told conservative hosts like Glenn Beck he'll trim back the federal bureaucracy.

"Presidents have not been willing to wield Article II power to discipline the bureaucracy," said DeSantis. "So I think I'll come in and on day one, we'll be spitting nails."

Later, on "The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show," DeSantis said he would pardon those "politically" convicted, possibly including Jan. 6 rioters or former President Donald Trump.

"Any example of disfavored treatment based on politics or weaponization would be included in that review, no matter how small or how big," DeSantis said.

The governor's super PAC Never Back Down is also ready to work. The group set goals to raise $200 million and use half for voter outreach in early primary states. The PAC also planning to hire 2,600 field organizers by Labor Day.

"Every state matters, but first thing is first," said Steve Cortes, a spokesman for Never Back Down. "We're most focused on the games that are in front of us on the schedule, and I mean by that, Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada."

Gov. Ron DeSantis and President Donald Trump, March 2019

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Trump wasn't resting on his laurels either. His super PAC blasted out positive polling data and, in videos, Trump swung at everything from DeSantis' COVID-19 policies to Disney.

"Look at Disney and what a mess it is," said Trump. "He could have worked out an easy settlement, but no, he wanted to show the fake news how tough of a guy he is."

That's just Trump. DeSantis' other GOP rivals are ramping up as well. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has pushed out new attack ads while Sen. Tim Scott is already stumping in Iowa and New Hampshire.