Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a potential 2024 Republican presidential candidate, spoke Friday in New Hampshire.
DeSantis addressed roughly 500 Republicans at the New Hampshire Republican Party's annual Amos Tuck Dinner at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Manchester.
DeSantis gained a national following through his resistance to extensive coronavirus lockdowns, and has since bolstered his place as a Republican firebrand by positioning himself on the front lines of the nation's culture wars. He's expected to formally launch his White House bid after the state Legislature finishes its regular session in early May.
In the meantime, DeSantis has been ramping up his out-of-state travel with visits to presidential battleground states. After New Hampshire, he is scheduled to make a visit to South Carolina next week.
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While DeSantis is seen as former President Donald Trump's most formidable Republican rival, his path to the presidential nomination may not be easy. Trump maintains wide support in the Republican Party, which is largely rallying around him after he became the first former president to face criminal charges. The move by a district attorney in New York has put Republicans eyeing a challenge to Trump, including DeSantis, in the awkward position of defending him against what they argue are politically motivated charges.
The Republicans already in the 2024 race are Trump, former U.N. Ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina announced an exploratory committee for a 2024 presidential campaign this week, and former Vice President Mike Pence is considering launching a campaign in the coming months.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.