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Ron DeSantis Moves His Campaign into a Higher Forward Gear

October 8, 2018 - 6:00am
Ron DeSantis
Ron DeSantis

It has been a tougher-than-expected start to the general election campaign for gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis. Since stumbling out of the gate following his solid primary win, the polls have shown his opponent, Andrew Gillum, consistently leading, albeit usually within the margin of error. With a month to go before the election, that is a bridgeable gap, and one DeSantis is now working to cover.

In a noteworthy move, the DeSantis camp made a decision to reboot things of a sort, by bringing in former Trump Florida operative Susie Wiles to act as campaign manager. Quickly, DeSantis' messaging has become streamlined and more direct. He is also addressing the weaknesses of his opponent. 

One issue that has seeped to the forefront of the campaign has been the algae bloom issues facing the state. DeSantis has been wise to address this head on, say his supporters, and it shows the renewed focus of the campaign. He actually has been vocal on the issue for weeks, and as Gillum came forward just last week with his algae/red tide proposals, DeSantis already had traction.

As the mayor of Tallahassee gave a rather general proposal on Wednesday -- for example, invoking carbon emissions and fracking during his red tide proposal -- DeSantis was able to quickly parry. As Gillum was touting his environmental record, DeSantis fired back with facts. He points out that left-leaning PolitiFact contested Gillum’s carbon claims, noting that Tallahassee had been reducing its output ahead of Gillum’s involvement. Additionally, the city’s carbon output actually increased from 2014 through 2016.

DeSantis by comparison has proposed more direct methods to address the environmental problems. He said as soon as he is in office he will acquire federal matching funds to apply toward Everglades restoration projects, and he has voiced the possibility of toughening penalties on polluters. He also said he would intercede with the Army Corps of Engineers on the fresh-water discharges from Lake Okeechobee.

Gillum, by way of defensive response, resorts to tying DeSantis to Donald Trump’s global position on the environment. It's a tired tactic, but one that likely appeals to his supporters. It does not seem persuasive to independents who are concerned with Florida’s water issue to hear, “But Trump backed out of Paris.” 

The renewed DeSantis talking outreach also has moved on to address Gillum’s threat to the state economy, suggesting his policies will return our economy to the 2008-2009 danger zone, and worse. Also mentioned more frequently are Gillum's legal issues in Tallahassee, as the municipality is entangled in an FBI investigation. Whether the mayor is any part of that investigation remains a question even the Bureau hasn't publicly put to rest. These issues will be amplified further in the coming weeks, as the race for the Governor's Mansion becomes even more contentious.

One final saving grace for the GOP candidate is one he could not account for. In the past weeks as the nation has been caught up in the rabid debate surrounding Supreme Court candidate Brett Kavanaugh, there has been an unforeseen result: The deeply partisan divide on the appointment, and the smear campaign in which the Democrats have been engaged, has had a galvanizing effect on the Republican Party.

Factions within the party that have been divided are now seen as coming together in the face of the bitter actions by Senate Democrats and their assistants in the press. There are indicators the SCOTUS fight is mobilizing more on the Republican side than previously expected. This can only help a candidate for a major office who has been lagging in the polls. DeSantis may see himself actually lifted by more than one Red Tide in the lead up to the election.

Brad Slager, a Fort Lauderdale freelance writer, wrote this story exclusively for Sunshine State News. He writes on politics and the entertainment industry and his stories appear in such publications as RedState and The Federalist.


One week before the election and Gillum is pulling ahead with a polling average that is outside of the margin of error. Panic time. Maybe Ron shouldn't have quit his House of Representatives job quite so soon.

If Desantis wins I will renew my NRA membership. If Gillum wins I will be wearing a raincoat with a hood to protect myself from all the tears and exploding white supremacist heads.

Go Gillum! #gogillum #voteblue #screwtrump

Sorry to disappoint,... Born in Florida; stationed w/parents in NY; educated in NY(thankfully); moved back to FL; developed hobby of "baiting" Democrat retards, like YOU "cow fart".

Mr. F.O.S. speaks! Claims he was "educated'! Apparently an expert in "retards" and bovine flatulence. A true Republican gem!

TreSantis is campaigning with Trump the Chump in his KKK outfit and will win in a landslide...unless of course you vote...

I can't believe the moderator of this site hasn't removed the preceeding comment.

DeSantis needs to put out TV ads hammering Gillum as a far lefty, hellbent on impeaching President Trump, while being soft on crime, immigration and gun rights. Gillum has only one card to play and he has already played it.

Mr DeSantis and his running mate should saturate the local spanish stations for voter support this is a win win situation. We don't need Mr Gillium a socialist , funded by George Soros, want open borders. Good luck.

So, you think a governor can impeach a president? What school did you went?

sounds like you are the only one with softy issues there Johnny boy...

Absolutely go after Guillem. He ruined Tallahassee......more crime, jobs., taking monies,etc. It is important to let voters know his work ethic while in Tallahassee! BE AGRESSIVE! People will vote early & by absentee ballots! Don’t wait! DO IT NOW!

It would be nice, if being a Dr. and all, that you could at least spell correctly. Perhaps you are one of those greatest Dr.'s in the world, ala Dr., ahem Trump...

I think you mean dr. Ford

I agree if I didn’t know better I’d go with Gillium .

Would NEVER vote Gillium!

Gliium will win ..Wiles and the Calvary won't save him..Radical RON !

Only one way Gillum can win. Massive voter fraud. And Broward County has already been caught with employees and "volunteers" filling out blank ballots for Hillary, during 2016. Crooked election officials? Maybe not. I guess I could take about 20 people with me and walk in to an empty room of the Supervisor of Elections and just fill in the bubbles, weeks on end before the election?

DeSantis get tough on the environment? What a laugh. Up until 2 weeks ago, he didn't even have a position on it. Hell, I don't even think he was aware it was an issue. Now, because he hired a couple professional campaign managers, we're supposed to believe his position is rock solid. The sad thing is, you idiots probably really do believe that... Left-leaning Politifact. How about truth leaning, and that is why you all have such a problem with the press, because they will tell you the truth w/o your spin on it... DeSantis has no position on any of this, until his handlers told him to. I cannot wait until there is a debate, he will get smashed, just Trump the Chump did...and I am know Hillary fan...

DeSantis talked about the water issues prior to winning primary. He debated Putnam and brought it up numerous times during both debates.

You seem to have missed Gillum only released his position last week.

His position has been on his website for 6 months dumbass...

I thought Gillum's platform was: ANYTHING SOCIALIST.

It would be helpful if idiots like you knew the meaning of the word Socialist before you started using it. Having socialized medicine certainly does not make you a Socialist. 9 of the top 10 democracies in the world have socialized medicine, but that might be too much for you uneducated, angry Spanky fans to understand...too funny.

It'll be a cold day in, you know where, before I vote for someone who administered a hate group Social Media page, and resigned ONLY because it would affect his results. Not to mention his, almost, disgusting love affair with with that dolt of a President we have. Good luck, Ron. If you win, so be it. But I'm putting all my efforts on Gillam.

How about getting your flock out to vote! Lazy people have never gone to the polls and they won't, this time, either. Dems lack the commitment to make a difference! Amen!

Any environmental voter who thinks the party of big business is going to clean up our water is delusional. Trump comes to Orlando today, and no one knows what he may blurt out. He should be on his best behavior, but he knows the crowd will be bored. They cheer for the train wreck of his foul spoutings. Pulling out of the Paris Climate Accords...does Desantis support that? Anyway, either Desantis or Gillum will be a tremendous improvement over Mr. Hit and Run.

Ocean Joe You should rely on the billionaire sponsored Everglades Foundation to guide you on this decision. They know and care more about environmental politics than real people like us ever will. So they think! PT Also, they hide behind a silly outfit called the "Everglades Trust" with their tax number based in West Palm Beach. Beware and good luck finding honesty in this election.

Ocean Joe You should rely on the billionaire sponsored Everglades Foundation to guide you on this decision. They know and care more about environmental politics than real people like us ever will. So they think! PT Also, they hide behind a silly outfit called the "Everglades Trust" with their tax number based in West Palm Beach. Beware and good luck finding honesty in this election.

I will vote DeSantis but the one thing that may undermine all of former Trump Florida operative Susie Wiles best efforts is the non-response and virtual disappearance of DeSantis after Gillum came out early hitting with the raciest bomb after the monkey up comment. I understand it's hard for white folk to address that subject and all. But our leader Trump would have successfully thrown that stuff back in Gillum's face before Gillum had even blinked an eye. The appearance was DeSantis ran away and was hiding like a little girly man. And Gillum must feel that all he need do a few weeks prior to the election is drop another raciest bomb and watch DeSaintis run for cover.


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