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Florida Republicans Navigate Absences of DeSantis and Trump at 2023 Statesman’s Dinner (Sep.14)

2023 Statesmans Dinner (Sep.14)

Last updated on September 15th, 2023 at 03:16 am

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.  —  The upcoming Republican Party of Florida’s Statesmans Dinner, scheduled for September 14 at the Rosen Centre in Orlando, Florida, will be notable for some high-profile absences. 

Among those missing from the event will be Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former President Donald Trump, two influential figures within the state’s Republican Party. These absences have sparked concerns within the party, both about the event’s fundraising potential and the spotlight it may cast on the complex dynamics of Florida’s GOP.

The Statesman’s Dinner is a significant annual event for the Florida Republican Party, traditionally drawing the state’s top Republicans, grassroots leaders, and supporters. It serves not only as a platform for energizing the party but also as a showcase of fundraising prowess.

Ben Shapiro Keynote Speaker at 2023 Statesmans Dinner

Christian Ziegler, Chairman, Republican Party of Florida Stated “We are excited to announce that Ben Shapiro has been confirmed as our keynote speaker at the 2023 Statesman’s Dinner! join Ben Shapiro, U.S. Senator Rick Scott, Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez, AG Ashley Moody, CFO Patronis, Commissioner Wilton Simpson, and other prominent speakers yet-to-be-announced!”

But, the omissions of DeSantis and Trump have raised eyebrows.

One of the reasons for not inviting Trump was to maintain a focus on state-level party building. Sources familiar with the planning process revealed that initially, efforts were concentrated on securing DeSantis as the keynote speaker. 

During his 2022 re-election campaign, DeSantis raised substantial political contributions, which played a pivotal role in propelling Florida Republicans to a commanding performance in the midterm elections. Notably, they managed to overcome the Democrats’ long-held voter registration advantage in the state.

However, DeSantis will not be present at the September 14 event as he is scheduled to attend fundraisers for his presidential campaign in New York City and Buffalo, creating a notable void at the Statesman’s Dinner.

A Republican official familiar with the event’s planning confirmed, “DeSantis was asked. He ended up saying no because he has a couple of fundraisers in New York around the same time.” The DeSantis campaign declined to provide further comment on the matter.

Meanwhile, Trump has announced his intentions to win the Florida primary and address the state’s pressing issues. In a video posted on Truth Social, Trump declared, “Next March, we are going to win the Florida primary, and in November 2024, we are going to win the state of Florida for the third straight time, and we are going to take back the White House.”

Trump took aim at President Joe Biden’s administration, criticizing its handling of various matters, and pledged to rectify what he termed “every single Biden disaster” upon returning to office.

The former president specifically highlighted issues concerning insurance markets, electricity rates, and crime rates in Democrat-controlled cities. Reports from NBC Miami indicated that Florida residents are currently paying 42 percent more for homeowners’ insurance compared to the previous year. Lawmakers have been grappling with regulating these rate hikes, but more than a dozen insurance companies have withdrawn from the state.

Energy costs in Florida have also escalated, with residents paying 33 percent more than the national average for electricity, according to Energy Sage.

Trump reminded voters of the prosperous economy during his tenure, stating, “We had an economy like nobody had ever seen before.” He reiterated these points in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, defending his tariff policies and explaining how they contributed to the economic well-being of Americans. Trump emphasized that consumer price increases were virtually nonexistent, and inflation was effectively under control.

In his video message, President Trump reaffirmed his commitment to "put America first" and called for unity in "Making America Great Again."

The absence of both DeSantis and Trump from this key event has raised questions about the implications for the Florida Republican Party and its fundraising efforts as the state’s political landscape continues to evolve.

Disclaimer: This article may contain the viewpoint and opinion of the author.

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