Politico Salivates over Ron DeSantis Facing Hurricane Ian

Storm clouds are seen as Hurricane Ian approaches in St. Petersburg, Florida on September

Politico is salivating as Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) faces what the outlet described as “one of the toughest challenges a Florida leader can encounter,” pondering if he will come out on top in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.

Politico on Tuesday published a piece on the popular Florida governor facing the challenge of a major hurricane hitting the state, contending that he “still hasn’t faced one of the toughest challenges a Florida leader can encounter”:

The piece, which identifies DeSantis as a “likely 2024 frontrunner” despite the fact he has dismissed all rumors of a presidential bid, details the upcoming challenge of Hurricane Ian barreling down on the Sunshine State, making a connection between the storm and how it will affect DeSantis in the upcoming midterm elections. 

“The hurricane is on track to make landfall in the state just six weeks ahead of the November elections and, depending on how well the governor responds to the potentially catastrophic storm, DeSantis may emerge more popular or open himself up to criticism,” Politico’s Matt Dixon writes, concluding that a storm of this magnitude has the potential to “boost” any governor’s “political fortunes.” 

Dixon continues, writing that DeSantis has apparently set aside what the author described as “his overtly pugilistic politics as Ian bears down,” noting the governor expressed gratitude after the White House declared a state of emergency for Florida. 

Democratic Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber is among those who has accused the governor of politicizing issues that were, ironically, politicized by members of his own party — from masks to vaccines — and worries that it will impact an individual’s ability to listen to local officials.

“I hope the divisiveness that has defined Florida and national politics doesn’t impact the ability of people to follow the directions of their leaders,” Gelber said, according to Politico. 

“Florida politicized vaccines and masks, and the results were tragic. We can’t afford to make the same mistake again,” he claimed.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks holding his facemask during a press conference to address the rise of coronavirus cases in the state, at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, on July 13, 2020. - Virus epicenter Florida saw 12,624 new cases on July 12 -- the second highest daily count recorded by any state, after its own record of 15,300 new COVID-19 cases a day earlier. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks holding his facemask during a press conference to address the rise of coronavirus cases in the state, at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, on July 13, 2020. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

Dixon continued, briefly detailing how past Florida governors — from Jeb Bush to Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) — handled these natural disasters:

As storms approached, Scott would hold media events across the state, donning his trademark Blue Navy baseball hat. He also became a fixture on national television, including most notably on the Weather Channel. Scott appeared on every morning network show on the same day in the lead-up to Hurricane Irma, a massive storm that prompted the largest evacuation in state history in 2017. On Monday morning, DeSantis’ emergency management director, Kevin Guthrie, was a guest on the Weather Channel, but DeSantis has not yet made an appearance on the channel during this weather event.

DeSantis has already held several press conferences on the storm, which is expected to make landfall on the west coast of Florida in the coming days. The governor has warned that the effects of the hurricane will go far beyond the cone of uncertainty, urging Floridians to take precautions and prepare for fuel disruptions, power outages, “catastrophic flooding and life-threatening storm surge.”

The governor said Tuesday that 5,000 National Guardsmen are activated, with 2,000 additional guardsmen from other states ready to assist as well. Further, on Wednesday, he revealed that there are over 30,000 linemen prepared to restore power. 

“We have three additional teams on standby ready to deploy. Our FWC [Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission] has officers placed in every county in anticipation of heavy rains and flooding, and you will see heavy rains in parts of the state that are not necessarily on Florida’s gulf coast,” DeSantis said Tuesday, detailing further preparations, including “high water vehicles and shallow draft boats that are ready for immediate deployment to the affected areas.”

“We also have FWC’s aviation section placed on standby and it’s ready. All appropriate aircraft are ready for deployment for search and rescue and post storm damage assessments as needed. FHP [Florida Highway Patrol] has implemented their 12 hour shifts. They’ve mobilized additional state troopers to the gulf coast. And of course our partners in the U.S. Coast Guard are standing by and are able and willing to assist,” he added.


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