SPARTANBURG, S.C. (NewsNation) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is scheduled to host a series of events across South Carolina on Wednesday as a part of his “Florida Blueprint” tour.
DeSantis will start his tour in North Charleston and then head three hours across the state to Spartanburg — a heavily Republican territory.
It will be the Florida governor’s first public visit to the state, which will be critical if he decides to run for president next year because it is home to the first presidential primary in the South.
Speculation around DeSantis’ potential presidential run has been swirling for months, and he continues to make stops in key states like Iowa, Pennsylvania and Michigan.
Early polling suggested DeSantis would be the main competitor to former President Donald Trump if the Florida governor did run.
While it’s normally Iowa and New Hampshire that draw attention, this is a potential make-or-break for DeSantis if he chooses to run.
At least one politician said they have been urging the Florida governor to come to South Carolina for months. It’s the same state that saved President Joe Biden’s White House hopes and has a long history of being an effective kingmaker in GOP politics.
“While the winner of New Hampshire and the winner of Iowa frequently don’t actually go to win the nomination, the winner of South Carolina on the Republican side, I think, has won just about every time maybe except for one or once or twice. I mean, it’s got a very good track record. So if you do well in South Carolina, it’s a springboard to winning that nomination,” University of Central Florida professor Aubrey Jewett said.
A new Winthrop Poll suggested that DeSantis may have some work to do. Registered South Carolina voters favored Trump by a notable margin: Trump with 41%, DeSantis at 20% and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley neck-and-neck with DeSantis at 18%.
DeSantis is hoping his “Florida Blueprint” tour will change that, really relying on what many in the Republican party see as legislative successes in the Sunshine State that garnered a lot of popularity among GOP voters. That, of course, included his handling of COVID-19, his stance on education and fighting so-called “culture wars.”
“We are a government of laws, not a government of individual men or even a government of woke corporations based in California,” DeSantis said.
As DeSantis works to garner support in South Carolina, it was announced that Trump will take his campaign to New Hampshire next week.