Home>Articles>Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis To Visit Simi Valley, Anaheim This Weekend

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaking at the 2021 Student Action Summit hosted by Turning Point USA at the Tampa Convention Center, July 18, 2021. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis To Visit Simi Valley, Anaheim This Weekend

Visit comes as DeSantis leads Trump in early 2024 GOP primary polls in CA

By Evan Symon, March 3, 2023 5:22 pm

This weekend, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is scheduled to make a rare California visit with stops in Simi Valley and Anaheim, with the Governor hoping to promote a new book, raise money, and shore up early support for a likely presidential bid.

Since becoming Governor of Florida in 2019, he and California Governor Gavin Newsom have largely been at odds over their respective Governorship styles and political beliefs. Both have taken potshots at each other, with both Governor attacking each other over their COVID-19 policies. DeSantis touted opening up the state earlier and getting rid of mask mandates as soon as possible, while Newsom has countered that stricter Californian policies led to an overall lower COVID-19 mortality rate.

Governor Newsom also frequently took a more direct route in challenging DeSantis, such as releasing ads in Florida last year touting California as a better state and pledging $100,000 in campaign contributions to DeSantis’ Gubernatorial opponent Charlie Crist last year. He has also taken a direct route with Disney, the Burbank-based company that operates both Disneyland and Disneyworld in Anaheim and Orlando respectively. A Florida law dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” Bill polarized many Disney employees, with many Florida-based ones wanting to move to California as a result. Newsom Capitalized on this, criticizing Florida and calling for Disney to not move more offices there. While that only proves partially successful, as job moves to Florida have been significantly delayed instead, Disney’s future in Florida has been on DeSantis’ mind all week following his actions in the state taking over more of a direct control over the Disneyworld area.

Despite these issues, DeSantis’ popularity in California has been rising. In an August 2022 poll, former President Donald Trump was leading amongst California Republican voters for the 2024 Presidential GOP nod, coming in with 69% of Republicans supporting him compared to only 24% for DeSantis. However, a poll released in late February of this year found that DeSantis now has 37%, with Trump only clocking in with 29% following months of concern over his viability as a candidate next year.

DeSantis in California

It is with all this that DeSantis is travelling to California. On Sunday, he is scheduled to go to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, followed by an evening visit to Anaheim for a fund raiser. During the visit, DeSantis is expected to not only promote his book and go after Newsom policies, but also address what happened with Disney in Florida and perhaps hint more of a likely presidential run next year.

“He’s the one many Republicans are looking to now,” explained pollster Mallory Radeck to the Globe on Friday. “This visit on Sunday is not only an early foray into a critical state, but also sort of a litmus test on what he will be like here. You can only go after Newsom and California policies so much. The question is what can he do for California? That’s what we need to hear.”

“We have the largest Republican delegation for the RNC. Why should Californians go with him? I mean, he’s already winning many over, as the polls clearly show. Sunday will show us where he is at with all this.”

As California is a major primary election location for both Republicans and Democrats, as well as major fundraising hubs for both, DeSantis’ visit is one of the first big stops for a potential candidate in California this year. Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and Former President Trump are all expected to swing through soon as well, with Hutchinson already having a March 20th visit date all set up.

“We’re going to see many if not all of these candidates coming through California not just for the purpose of fundraising — though that’s an added benefit — but meeting with voters convincing them why they should be our nominee,” said California GOP chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson. “California is a dual draw for candidates given the state’s wealth of donors and delegates.”

As for DeSantis, his visit, one year before the California primary, is sort of a starting gun for candidates, as the open Republican nomination is expected to be very close early on.

“California can make or break a candidate hopeful,” added Radeck. “DeSantis isn’t saying if this trip  has an early in visit in mind for a motive, but either way, if he has a successful visit on Sunday he is only going to help cement his early candidate lead in the state. It’s some talks and a fundraiser, but there is still a lot at stake for him, especially if he wants the nod for 2024. He’ll need California in the primary.”

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Evan Symon
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3 thoughts on “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis To Visit Simi Valley, Anaheim This Weekend

  1. All the RINOs in California’s Republican party including Chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson have destroyed the Republican party in California with their weak “Democrat lite” policies and agenda. They’re the reason why many of us have left the Republican party to become independents.

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