Wave of confusion grows over DeSantis' new law giving himself power to run for president: report

Wave of confusion grows over DeSantis' new law giving himself power to run for president: report
Gov. Ron DeSantis, commander in chief of the Florida National Guard, addresses the crowd during a change of command ceremony at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center on April 6. During the ceremony U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. James Eifert assumed command from U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Michael Calhoun, who retired after 36 years of service. U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. William Buchanan

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis had a problem with his 2024 presidential run, which he is widely expected to soon announce: state law appeared to require him to resign from office in order to launch that campaign.

So he and his allies in the legislature passed a bill to carve himself out of that requirement — but according to the Orlando Sentinel, that new bill may have just created even more confusion.

"Lawmakers sent to DeSantis’ desk last week Senate bill 7050, which included an amendment specifically designed to clear the way for the governor to launch a bid for the GOP nomination in 2024 without having to tender his resignation. It takes effect July 1," said the report. "Florida’s current resign to run law mandates that an officeholder must tender his or her resignation when filing to run for another office, effective the day their new position would start if elected. In DeSantis’ case, that would have been Jan. 20, 2025, if he launches a bid for president. So he would have had to leave the Governor’s Mansion that day even if he lost the White House. The amendment, from state Sen. Travis Hutson, R-St. Augustine, was an attempt to 'clarify' the provision by expressly stating that it 'does not apply to … persons seeking the office of President or Vice President of the United States.'"

But it may not be that simple. According to the report, DeSantis is considering skipping the exploratory committee process and announcing his campaign in June, which would technically be before the law goes into effect — meaning former President Donald Trump, who has been escalating an offensive against his once-ally DeSantis as they compete for the nomination, might well sue him over it and create a new legal mess.

"Michael T. Morley, a Florida State University College of Law professor, said DeSantis might still be legally in the clear even if he announces before July 1, as the provision of the resign to run law regarding federal candidates isn’t as clear-cut as the one for state and local candidates," said the report. "DeSantis could also wait to officially file his paperwork until after July 1. 'The deadline for that would be well after the statute would take effect over the summer,' he said. The standards for federal campaign finance law and the state law are also different, Morley said."

Current polling shows Trump with a commanding lead over the primary field, with DeSantis at a clear but distant second, and every other candidate struggling to even register with Republican primary voters.

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