The Democratic Governors Association (DGA) is not planning to contribute any significant financial help to party candidates looking to unseat Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis next year, Politico is reporting.
The outlet noted the decision is a key setback and will make it more difficult for those Democrats hoping to defeat DeSantis. According to two Democrat consultants, the DGA is starting to deprioritize the state.
During the last two gubernatorial election cycles, the DGA spent more than $15 million in the state where Democrats have not won the governor’s mansion in more than two decades.
The perception is that DeSantis, who has White House aspirations, is unbeatable, according to the two Democrat consultants. In addition, the DGA is left with deciding how best to spend its money since Florida has 10 media markets.
“I do think, and I can’t stress this enough, the DGA is playing mostly defense this year, and that’s a monumental change,” said Jonathan Ducote, a Democrat consultant. “When I think about Florida statewide elections, the No. 1 thing you have to ask yourself is, Do you have the money to communicate in a really expensive state?”
A second consultant, who is working with the DGA, confirmed the group will limit its financial help in Florida, according to Politico.
“I spoke to them two weeks ago,” the source said. “We had a pretty candid conversation. DeSantis is looking strong politically and financially, and there are states like Massachusetts, Maryland, and Arizona where they see potential pickups on top of incumbent protection. They might do some money, but they are not going the way they have been in the past. There are not going to be multimillion-dollar checks.”
Politico noted the election is still a year away and the DGA could decide to feed more money into the campaign at a later date.
“Let me tell you how the DGA works,” said a DGA staffer. “First, it’s incumbent protection, and there is a bunch of that this year. Then they look at open seats, then they look at challenging incumbents, and DeSantis isn’t the easiest incumbent to challenge.”
“DGA does not look at things in a vacuum. We have a lot of races in 2022, and Florida requires, what, $6 to $10 million? That’s a lot.”
While there is talk of DeSantis as a rising star in the party, former President Donald Trump doubts the governor would even challenge him if both men decide to run for president.
“If I faced him, I’d beat him like I would beat everyone else,” Trump said during an interview with Yahoo Finance last month.