Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a contender in the 2024 Republican race for president, has suggested he is prepared and committed to dealing with the impacts of Hurricane Idalia on the Sunshine State.
Though he did not say for how long he will pause his presidential campaign, the governor told reporters that “you do what you need to do” when it comes to situations like this and pointed to his past work in dealing with Hurricane Ian, which struck Florida last September during his gubernatorial campaign in the state.
Asked Tuesday at a press conference in Tallahassee how long he’s “planning on staying in Florida and off of the campaign trail” ahead of the hurricane’s expected landfall on Wednesday, DeSantis responded, “Well, this is no different. You remember Ian, we were in the midst of a governor campaign.”
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“I had all kinds of stuff scheduled, not just in Florida, around the country. You know, we were doing different things and, you know, you do what you need to do. I mean, and so that’s what we’re doing,” he continued. “It’s going to be no different than what we did during Hurricane Ian.”
“I’m hoping this storm is not as catastrophic as Hurricane Ian was, but we’re going to do what we need to do because it’s just something that’s important. But it’s no different than what we’ve done in past iterations of all this stuff,” he added.
DeSantis’ comments suggest his campaign for the White House is currently on hold to deal with the storm, which is expected to start affecting Florida with strong winds as soon as late Tuesday and arrive on the state’s Gulf Coast by Wednesday. It is the first storm to hit Florida this hurricane season and a potentially big blow to the state, which is also dealing with lingering damage from Hurricane Ian.
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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday at a press conference in Tallahassee that “you do what you need to do” when it comes to hurricanes, and suggested that his response to Idalia would be no different than it was to Hurricane Ian. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
A state of emergency in Florida is now in effect for 46 of its 67 counties.
Idalia upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane early Tuesday morning as the storm passed Cuba, according to FOX Weather. It is expected to be become a major hurricane with “life-threatening” storm surge when it makes landfall on Florida’s western coast Wednesday morning.
As of Tuesday morning, Hurricane Idalia was located about 85 miles north of the western tip of Cuba and about 370 miles to the south-southwest of Tampa, FOX weather reported. Hurricane Idalia has maximum sustained winds of 75 mph with higher gusts, and it’s moving to the north at 14 mph.
Earlier this week, DeSantis referenced the “political season” as he spoke about the potentially “life-threatening” storm and its impact on Florida.
Workers place protective plywood over the openings at Toucan’s Bar & Grill before the possible arrival of Hurricane Idalia on Aug. 29, 2023, in Clearwater Beach, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
“There’s time and a place to have political season, but then there’s a time and a place to say that this is something that’s life-threatening,” the governor said Monday. “This is something that could potentially cost somebody their life, that could cost them their livelihood. And we have a responsibility as Americans to come together and do what we can to mitigate any damage and to protect people.”
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“So that’s what I’ve done on all these different issues and that’s what I’ll continue to do; when you have these situations, you got to step up,” DeSantis added.
Fox News’ Bradford Betz, Anders Hagstrom, David Rutz and Lawrence Richard and The Associated Press contributed to this report.