DeSantis To Make First Public Appearance In South Carolina

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) will make his first public appearance in South Carolina, a primary state he must win if he runs for president in 2024.

South Carolina’s presidential primary is the first in the South and is a state with a large group of minority voters.

South Carolina State Sen. Josh Kimbrell (R) told the Associated Press (AP) that he would host DeSantis for an April 19 event in Spartanburg, South Carolina, which overwhelmingly voted for former President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

DeSantis’ visit to South Carolina comes after his recent “Florida Blueprint” tour to Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan.

Kimbrell said he hoped to bring DeSantis to South Carolina for months, saying that Republicans are used to having chances to know presidential candidates in person, in the state.

“I’ve told everybody associated with his team, ’You’ve got to get here early and often,’” Kimbrell told the AP. “I’ve tried to make it clear to them that, if you want to win, you’ve got to get here early.”

In 2022, DeSantis visited South Carolina for a gubernatorial fundraiser. Some of Trump’s donors attended the event.

Kimbrell said he agrees with Trump on policy issues but not “on the way he approached things personally.”

“I believe that Ron DeSantis is as popular among my base as Trump is,” Kimbrell added. “But you can’t just mail it in. He’s going to have to press the flesh, roll his sleeves up, and get really serious.”

Current GOP candidates, including Trump, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R), and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R), have already visited South Carolina.

In January 2023, Trump held a rally in South Carolina, speaking in the state’s Capitol building in Columbia. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) joined Trump at the event.

Haley launched her 2024 presidential campaign in Charleston, South Carolina, where she touted her experience as the state’s governor and former United Nations ambassador. To date, she’s held three rallies in the state.

Hutchinson spoke at the Vision 24 conference hosted by the Palmetto Family Council in Charleston. He referenced the Republican losses in the 2022 midterms, arguing that it’s time for the party to “turn the page,” but refrained from mentioning Trump.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll shows Trump defeating DeSantis in the 2024 GOP primary. More than 55% of respondents said they would support Trump as the nominee, while 21% said they would support DeSantis.