DeSantis is billing himself as the "law and order" candidate in the GOP primary.
On stage, the Republican governor touted his legislative record in the state, delivering crime reforms like lowering access to the death penalty and his bonus program to encourage officer recruitment.
"It matters to have a governor like I've been — and it will matter to have a president of the United States, like I will be, that will stand up and defend the people that wear the uniform," DeSantis said.
Right now, polling is not looking great for the governor, even in his backyard.
The latest survey from Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio shows former President Donald Trump dominating the Sunshine State, 57-22%. That's despite DeSantis delivering a ton of GOP policies during his two terms, and winning Florida by about 20 points in November — a stat he noted when asked about Trump's lead.
"Well, he won by three," DeSantis said, referring to the 2020 election results. "I won by 20. I don't know, which do you think is better."
The governor's allies continue to dismiss the bad survey results. Former Florida House Speaker Jose Oliva told us ahead of the second GOP debate that the campaign wasn't putting a lot of stock into the metrics.
"Polls, taken very far out from a race, are not very precise," he said. "Not in any way. We're just too far outside."
Elections experts, however, say with so many polls showing the same thing — it's time for the DeSantis campaign, and the other GOP contenders, to face facts about their Trump deficit.
"At this point, you know, it's hard for the other candidates to spin away the polls," Barry University political science professor Sean Foreman said. "It's not just one or two showing Donald Trump with a big lead. It's all of the polls nationally and in the states. Trump's lead is either solid or growing."
That's despite ongoing legal troubles for Trump in New York, Georgia and Florida.
The candidate is involved in civil and criminal court battles for allegations he fraudulently inflated the value of his property, worked to undermine the results of the 2020 election and purposefully withheld classified documents.