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“Over the last four years, we’ve witnessed a great American exodus from states governed by leftist politicians imposing leftist ideologies and delivering poor results,” DeSantis said in a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California on Sunday. “And you can see massive gains in states like Florida, who are governing according to the tried and true principles that President Reagan held dear.”
While speaking before his audience in California, DeSantis repeatedly compared the west coast state to Florida. DeSantis said until recently, many people moved to California, but “now you see the state hemorrhaging population.”
According to recent census data, Florida became the fastest-growing state in the United States last year, notching a 1.9 percent population increase between 2021 and 2022. Florida also ranked second for sheer numeric increase in population last year. By comparison, census data indicated California ranked second overall for numeric population decline, losing about 113,649 residents. California was 10th overall for percentage population decrease last year, losing 0.3 percent of its population.
“We’ve seen people move from the West Coast, not just California, but Oregon and Washington State, in numbers like we’ve never seen,” DeSantis said. “This is a result of better governance in States like Florida, it is a result of poor governance in these left-wing states—that’s why people are moving.”
DeSantis has directly traded barbs with Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom in recent months. Last summer, Newsom called on Floridians to move to California, and called on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate DeSantis for flying asylum applicants to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. Newsom also donated $100,000 to DeSantis’ Democratic gubernatorial opponent in the 2022 election.
“I knew you guys got a lot of problems out here but your Governor is very concerned about what we’re doing in Florida so I figured I had to come by,” DeSantis said during his speech on Sunday.
Newswom took a crack at DeSantis as his Republican Florida rival arrived in California last week.
“Welcome to the real freedom state,” Newsom told DeSantis, in a statement he shared with the Los Angeles Times.
“Just look at the data—California residents are safer, healthier and more prosperous than those unfortunate enough to have you as their governor,” Newsom’s statement continued. “Oh, by the way, you’re going to get smoked by [Donald Trump]” in the 2024 Republican presidential primary.
Possible 2024 Plans
DeSantis spoke at the Ronald Reagan Library as part of a national media tour to promote his new book “The Courage To Be Free.” The media tour comes as three candidates have already announced their plans to run for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination and as DeSantis has faced questions about his own 2024 plans.
Ahead of his speech, a presenter said “with his new book it’s clear [DeSantis is] asking all Americans to simply judge him by his works” and said “‘The Courage To Be Free’ is Florida’s blueprint for America’s Revival, and Governor Ron DeSantis is the leader who drafted, and successfully implemented, that blueprint in the Sunshine State.”
“Judging by the size of this enthusiastic crowd here on a Sunday afternoon and by how quickly this event sold out I’d say most of you have already become familiar with Governor DeSantis’s Florida blueprint and you like what you see,” the presenter continued.
Thus far, DeSantis has avoided any direct confirmation of his 2024 plans, neither confirming or denying whether he will run.
Trump was the first Republican candidate to announce his 2024 bid, followed by former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and biotechnology entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.
Trump and DeSantis have lead in a number of 2024 polls, with some polls showing Trump leading DeSantis, while others show DeSantis ahead.
By Ryan Morgan