Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was perhaps among the first leaders whose victory was called by US media networks. DeSantis, one of the most prominent leaders of the Republican party, is someone who has maintained his strong position without articulating himself as either pro or against former President Donald Trump. The 44-year-old Florida governor is widely reported to be considering a 2024 Presidential election bid. 

Once a Blue state, DeSantis has managed to significantly alter the narrative in Florida. He won by a small margin in 2018 and took decisions that had even Democrats praise him. The Florida Governor had a shining environmental agenda, had given up the Republican battle against medical marijuana and pardoned a Groveland Four, a group of four Black men falsely accused of rape in 1949. 

However, the COVID-19 pandemic changed Florida significantly. Ron DeSantis became one of those Republican voices that heavily spoke against federal orders to close schools, and other policies Republicans thought were overreaching. 

DeSantis’ pivot to a more radical Republican agenda came at this time. He subsequently went on to fight against the teaching of critical race theory in schools through the Stop WOKE Act. He also championed the Parental Rights in Education Bill, widely referred to by Democrats as the Don’t Say Gay bill which sought to bar schools from teaching gender identity and sexual orientation to students third grade or below, among other things.  

Ron DeSantis had also removed Andrew Warren, the twice-elected Hillsborough County State Attorney, for signing states with other prosecutors slamming the criminalisation of abortion and calling for healthcare for transgender people. DeSantis also touted orchestrating an operation to send migrants from Texas for secretive charter flights to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

Political observers say DeSantis, through this victory, will take Florida further to the right. DeSantis has not given any indication that he will not contest the presidential elections. If he does, he will serve as the Florida governor for two years and will have to resign in 2024, according to Florida law.