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Gov. Ron DeSantis supporters push for GOP unity after presidential campaign concludes

'Basically— it's a civil war within the Republican Party,' state Sen. Blaise Ingoglia says
Posted at 5:50 PM, Jan 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-22 17:50:13-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida's governor was back in his home state Monday evening, 24 hours after ending his 2024 presidential bid.

About 1,300 miles away from New Hampshire, Gov. Ron DeSantis had a fairly quiet day. His press team said he started Monday with a clear schedule and did zero public appearances. The governor is now expected to put his full focus back on leading Florida for the remainder of his term.

The suspension of his campaign became instant fodder for critics. Some hosted a press conference outside the state capitol Monday afternoon. While the topic was centered on the 51st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, DeSantis was the central figure during the question and answer session with reporters that followed.

"He took this, 'We're going to make America Florida' agenda across the country — and it was rejected," Florida Democrats Chair Nikki Fried said. "It was rejected hard."

Fried, who ran against DeSantis during his 2022 re-election bid for governor, believed the end of the Republican's presidential bid was a sign times were changing in Florida.

"There is going to be a reckoning come November," she said, "when people in our state are going to say — 'Wait a second, these were my representatives that I sent to Tallahassee who didn't focus on property insurance, didn't focus on affordability.'"

Florida Republicans, meanwhile, said to think again. State party chair Evan Power predicted DeSantis would remain in the legislative driver's seat for the remainder of his term.

"I think (Democrats) should be careful what they hope for," Power said. "I think the governor, for another three years, will be a force to be reckoned with."

Power's comments come as the governor's 2024 backers push for peace. State Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill, was among those who followed the governor's lead and flipped support to Trump. The lawmaker urged others to do the same despite Nikki Haley’s ongoing campaign.

"Basically— it's a civil war within the Republican Party," Ingoglia said. "Everyone needs to come together for the common cause and that's beating Joe Biden in 2024. The infighting must stop, must come to an end, in order for us to unite. That's what we need to do, unite."