William March: DeSantis’ legislative influence diminishes with his presidential prospects

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William March
Tampa Bay Times columnist William March

Florida Gov. Ron Desantis will likely find his influence over the state Legislature diminished this year as his prospects for president decline, Tampa Bay Times columnist William March told WMNF WaveMakers with Janet and Tom.

March discussed the results of Monday’s Iowa Republican caucuses during a wide-ranging conversation about  the 2024 session of the Florida Legislature and 2024 state and local elections.

DeSantis placed a distant second to former President Donald Trump in Iowa, with former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley a close third. “The outcome in Iowa is just good enough for DeSantis to claim grounds for going forward,” March said. Still, he said, the governor’s showing “doesn’t change the overall trajectory of his campaign,” which is in decline a year after he appeared to be the Republican most likely to beat Trump.

“DeSantis’ real problem is the next few states are not looking good for him,” March said. While Trump is dominating polls in every state, Haley is doing better in New Hampshire than DeSantis and should have an edge over him in her home state of South Carolina. And in Nevada, party rules regarding PACs could make it difficult for DeSantis to compete, March added.

“He’s got a tough road ahead,” March said, “and he hasn’t really swung the race with this outcome.”

DeSantis got everything he wanted out of the Florida Legislature last year, March said, largely because he was seen as a serious contender for president and lawmakers were reluctant to challenge him. His diminished presidential prospects, March said, “will unquestionably diminish his influence some,” though it’s not clear how much.

Besides, March pointed out, DeSantis will be busy campaigning and “he’ll be absent during the session,” March said, limiting his ability to personally influence legislation.” Still, with the governor’s power to veto legislation, he will remain a powerful player in Tallahassee and will be in office for two more legislative sessions in the years ahead.

March also discussed some key legislation dealing with property insurance, civil war monuments and gun safety, as well as the increased attention Republicans are paying to local school board races and the prospects of a repeat of a Republican wave in the 2022 elections.

Hear the entire conversation by clicking the link below, going to the WaveMakers archives or by searching for WMNF WaveMakers wherever you listen to podcasts.

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