On the same day he’s set to face-off against Adam Putnam in the first debate of the Republican primary for governor, Ron DeSantis picked up the endorsement of one of the state’s top elected officials.
House Speaker-designate Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes, made his endorsement in a news release sent out by the DeSantis campaign.
“As a dedicated conservative, I am proud to endorse Ron DeSantis to be the next Governor of our great,“ Oliva said. “Ron’s commitment to this country and the values that made her great are second to none. Beginning with his service in Iraq alongside SEAL Team 1 through his time in Congress, Ron always puts America first.”
The endorsement by Oliva, who is set to take over as House speaker following the November election, could give DeSantis an advantage with South Florida Republicans. DeSantis is from North Florida, while Putnam is from the Tampa area.
“He’s a tax cutter, budget hawk, education reformer, and the rarest of elected officials in Washington, a demonstrated conservative,” Oliva said of DeSantis. “Florida has consistently shown what conservative governance can do for our schools, economy, job creation, and quality of life. We must continue that legacy of conservative leadership and Ron DeSantis is the candidate we can trust to do that.
DeSantis welcomed the endorsement of Oliva
“Florida House Speaker-Designate Jose Oliva is the Florida legislative leader I admire most. He’s a successful businessman, a solid conservative, and fighter for our constitution,” said DeSantis. “He’s not afraid to stand up for his principles especially when it means fighting Tallahassee’s entrenched special interests. I’m proud to have his support and look forward to working with him as Governor to build on Governor Scott’s success, fix our broken courts system, empower parents to make the best choices for their children and drain the Tallahassee swamp.”
The endorsement comes hours before Thursday evening’s debate between DeSantis and Putnam hosted by Fox News at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Orlando. It comes as recent polls show DeSantis trailing Putnam by double-digits.
An NBC News/Marist poll released Tuesday showed Putnam holding a significant 17-point advantage over DeSantis. Putnam received the support of 38 percent of the voters, while DeSantis received 21 percent. However, a large segment of the voters, 39 percent, remain undecided.
Fox News released a poll last week in which Putnam received the support of 32 percent of the Republicans surveyed, while DeSantis received 17 percent. Like the NBC News/Marist poll, 39 percent were undecided.