WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — When Gov. Ron DeSantis took questions at a Wednesday press conference in West Palm Beach, it was a chance again to talk about issues he's embraced.
"We will be the first state in these United States to wipe out DEI at public universities," DeSantis said, referring to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programs.
Some believe statements like that are winning over Republicans across the country and are part of a roadmap DeSantis has for a presidential campaign.
"The best thing the governor can do is the thing he's doing every day," Republican media strategist Adam Goodman said. "He continues every day to generate media attention and press free, which is something you don't get by saying, I'm here, and I'm running."
However, Democrats believe DeSantis is winning support by creating wedge issues meant to divide, such as removing Critical Race Theory in schools, moving migrants to other states and taking on LGBTQ issues.
"I think the governor has found ways to divide and not unite," Sophia Nelson, president of the Caribbean American Democratic Club of Palm Beach County, said. "The attack is on all of us. It's not a Black thing. It's not an LGBTQ thing. It's an attack on Americanism. We're all Americans."
The governor has not said if he will run for president, preferring to focus on the upcoming legislative session in Tallahassee.
"I think there's a concern among Democrats that DeSantis is emerging," Goodman, who expects Florida's governor to announce his presidential candidacy later this year, said.
Nelson agreed and said Democrats need to be ready for a DeSantis campaign.
"He's found something that works and our party needs to find something that works for us," she said.