DeSantis to Visit Early Primary States, Selling His Florida Record

Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida will make his debut appearances in three early presidential primary states in the next several weeks, according to two people briefed on his plans, selling his performance in his own state as he lays the groundwork for an expected presidential campaign.

Mr. DeSantis is tentatively expected to appear in Iowa during the first half of March, making stops in Davenport and Des Moines, according to the people briefed on his schedule who requested anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the plans publicly. Shortly after, he is expected to appear in Nevada, an early primary state, followed a few weeks later by an expected trip to Manchester, New Hampshire.

An appearance in South Carolina is also being discussed, according to the people briefed.

An aide to Mr. DeSantis declined to comment on his planned appearances.

Hitting the traditional early primary states as he discusses his new book, “The Courage to Be Free: Florida’s Blueprint for America’s Revival,” allows Mr. DeSantis to unofficially test the waters and introduce himself nationally at a time when he’s seen as preparing for a presidential campaign.

Mr. DeSantis is also expected at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Sunday, a place that has often been a launching pad for presidential candidacies. And there are stops expected in a handful of other states, including New York.

A chunk of the Republican electorate, some conservative thinkers and a number of major donors have already pinned their hopes on Mr. DeSantis as the future of the party at a time when they are hoping to move on from former President Donald J. Trump. They have praised his aggressive style and use of the powers of his office, and his willingness to dive into battles over cultural issues that have come to define the modern Republican Party.

Mr. Trump still leads the field in a number of national opinion polls, with others showing Mr. DeSantis ahead. But it’s the early states where Mr. DeSantis will seek to stake his claim on the nomination if he runs.

With the Legislature in session in Tallahassee during his tour, he will return to Florida several times, the schedule shows.

The people briefed on Mr. DeSantis’s schedule distinguished it from a book tour, like those recently undertaken by former Vice President Mike Pence and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, both of whom are considering presidential campaigns.

Instead, Mr. DeSantis’s plans are said to include a collection of speaking engagements with some connection to what he lays out in his book as a blueprint that his Florida record offers the country.

The distinction is important given Florida’s strict rules around what a governor may accept that could be construed as a gift.

Last weekend, Mr. DeSantis held a donor retreat with a number of people who are likely to be part of a campaign.

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