Among other things, DeSantis reminded the audience that, as governor of Florida, he signed measures that:
- Prohibited the purchase of Floridian land by the CCP,
- Banned ESG investing,
- Rebuilt a bridge hit by a hurricane in three days,
- Passed a heartbeat bill,
- Passed $2.7 billion in tax relief,
- Passed constitutional carry,
- Banned sanctuary cities,
- Passed Voter ID,
- Protected women’s athletics,
- Banned Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policies from public universities
DeSantis told delegates and members of the NCGOP that his proudest achievement was “drawing a very clear line in the sand” that “the purpose of our schools is to educate kids, not to indoctrinate kids.”
He referred to efforts to remove Critical Race Theory from K-12 education, remove pornographic books from school libraries, and enact universal school choice.
“Leadership is about doing what’s right when you have intense opposition,” he said. “Leadership is about delivering results to the people that you represent.”
In his speech, DeSantis positioned himself as a leader who can shift a culture. He pointed to the 2022 gubernatorial election, in which he won by 1.5 million votes – a significantly wider margin than the 32,000 votes he won in 2018.
In a recent poll of likely N.C. general election voters, DeSantis was the only candidate to outperform incumbent President Joe Biden. The poll had DeSantis pulling ahead of Biden narrowly, with only a 0.7% lead.
However, to become president, DeSantis must first win the GOP primary. He likely still has a long way to go with these voters. A recent Civitas poll of North Carolina voters put DeSantis behind former President Donald Trump among likely N.C. Republican primary voters. The survey found that 55% of these voters supported Trump. DeSantis polled in second place with 22% of the vote.
Speaking to the crowd, DeSantis promised to “bring the issue of our southern border to a conclusion,” to “wage a war on woke ideology,” and to “end the weaponization of government.”
DeSantis is the first of three Republican presidential candidates to speak at the conference. Former Vice President Mike Pence is slotted to speak at lunch tomorrow, and former President Trump will headline the “Grand Old Party Dinner” tomorrow evening.
Follow Carolina Journal on Twitter for ongoing coverage of the NCGOP convention.