Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ anticipated presidential campaign announcement on Wednesday will not violate the state’s resign-to-run law, legal experts told Newsweek.
DeSantis is expected to announce his 2024 presidential campaign Wednesday evening during a Twitter Space with the social media platform’s CEO Elon Musk, according to a report from The New York Times. The governor, whose embrace of right-wing culture war issues propelled him to national prominence, is viewed as the Republican with the greatest chance to beat former President Donald Trump in the primary and has been floated by some conservatives as a more electable alternative to the ex-president in the general election.
Reports of his announcement drew questions from some critics over whether this would violate a law requiring state officials to resign to run for a separate office. Florida Republicans, anticipating DeSantis’ presidential bid, have sought to change that requirement, passing SB 7050, which contains an amendment to repeal the resign-to-run law.
But DeSantis had not signed that bill into law by the time of publication, leading to questions about whether his campaign would violate current restrictions. However, DeSantis is unlikely to face a legal challenge over his presidential campaign, experts told Newsweek.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at the North Charleston Coliseum on April 19, 2023, in North Charleston, South Carolina. DeSantis is unlikely to face a lawsuit over his presidential announcement, because the “resign to run” law hinges on the time that a candidate qualifies for office, experts told Newsweek.
Dave Aronberg, state attorney for Palm Beach County, explained to Newsweek in a phone interview that the current resign-to-run restrictions only apply to the time a candidate would “qualify” for office, rather than the date of a campaign announcement.
This means that even without the GOP’s changes, DeSantis’ resignation would not be required for a while, likely until January 2025. Regardless, DeSantis will sign the law before these limits kick in, according to Aronberg. He said doing so is a “priority” for the governor and cast doubt that his opponents would try to mount a lawsuit.
“It’s not a good look to try to go to court to defeat your opponent,” he said.
Newsweek has reached out to DeSantis’ office for comment via email.
Michael McAuliffe, an elected state attorney in Florida and former federal prosecutor, told Newsweek that the GOP’s changes to the resign-to-run laws will be in effect by the time DeSantis qualifies as a presidential candidate.
“The amendments to the resign-to-run laws in Florida create an exception for individuals who hold office in Florida who run for the presidency or vice-presidency,” he said. “The resign-to-run restrictions in Florida likely are tied to candidates ‘qualifying’ for office; as a result, the new amendments will be the law when DeSantis qualifies as a presidential candidate in the future.”
According to the Florida Division of Elections, DeSantis would currently be required to resign by the date the next president would take office or when his successor is required to take office—meaning he would be required to resign by January 2025, regardless of whether he wins. However, this rule will no longer apply to DeSantis once he signs SB 7050.
The bill also appeared to make progress on Tuesday. According to the Florida Senate bill tracker, it had been presented to the governor by the afternoon, after news broke about his likely announcement.
The Trump-aligned PAC, Make America Great Again Inc., on Tuesday afternoon lashed out on Twitter at DeSantis’ coming announcement, describing it as “one of the most out-of-touch campaign launches in modern history.” Trump remains the substantial frontrunner in the GOP primary, according to recent polls.
“This is one of the most out-of-touch campaign launches in modern history. The only thing less relatable than a niche campaign launch on Twitter, is DeSantis’ after party at the uber elite Four Seasons resort in Miami.
Every day more and more Americans are realizing just how…
— MAGA War Room (@MAGAIncWarRoom) May 23, 2023
“The only thing less relatable than a niche campaign launch on Twitter, is DeSantis’ after party at the uber elite Four Seasons resort in Miami,” the post reads.
Source : Newsweek