The moment was lost on no one: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, speaking at a lectern bearing the presidential seal. Behind him stood the actual president, Joe Biden, awaiting his turn. 

The two men, Republican and Democrat, were appearing in storm-ravaged Fort Myers earlier this month in a rare display of rise-above-it-all comity, pledging cooperation after the deadliest hurricane to hit Florida since 1935. 

But it’s Governor DeSantis who’s getting the credit for Hurricane Ian response. Nationally, even 43% of Democrats approve of his storm performance, according to an Economist/YouGov poll. Always favored in his Nov. 8 reelection bid, he now appears a virtual lock. Which means the buzz about a likely 2024 presidential run is about to go into overdrive. 

Why We Wrote This

The 2024 campaign is already quietly underway. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is courting Donald Trump’s supporters, while trying not to draw the former president’s ire.

“Of any living American today, Ron DeSantis has the hottest hand in politics,” says David Jolly, a former GOP congressman from Tampa who is now an independent, and not a DeSantis fan. 

Mr. DeSantis catapulted onto the national stage early in the COVID-19 pandemic when he fought mask mandates and pushed hard on businesses – and especially schools – to reopen. Later, he also vocally opposed vaccine mandates. 

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