Florida Rep. Perez to Newsmax: DeSantis Focused on Job, Not 2024

Florida Rep. Perez to Newsmax: DeSantis Focused on Job, Not 2024 daniel perez gestures while speaking into a microphone State Rep. Daniel Perez, R-Fla. (AP)

By Sandy Fitzgerald | Thursday, 22 September 2022 10:15 AM EDT

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is "solely focused on his job as the governor," even with buzz growing about him potentially running for the White House in 2024, and voters won't be turning away from him in November out of concern that he won't be around in two years, state Rep. Daniel Perez told Newsmax on Thursday.

"People understand that [he] is the only choice to keep Florida in the direction that it's going," the Florida Republican, who is expected to become speaker of the Florida House in 2024, said on Newsmax's "Wake Up America." "We have to keep him in his position as governor of the state of Florida. Whatever he decides to do in the future, that's going to be on him."

DeSantis is campaigning against former Democrat Gov. Charlie Crist in his reelection bid, and Perez said he's in Miami on Thursday as part of his bid to touch "every part of the state in his reelection campaign."

"Our number one priority is to make sure that we get him reelected, but also that we keep the very hefty majority in the House and the Senate," said Perez. "We're on the verge of having a super-majority in both chambers down here in Florida, and this election could put us over the edge. It's a result of some of the policies that we passed, and the people are noticing it, and they want to keep that going."

There is a "myth," said Perez, that when people move from left-leaning states to Florida, they are continuing to vote the way they always had, but he insisted that's not true.

"The voter registration numbers here in Florida are like they've never been for the Republican Party," he said. "We have taken the majority as far as voter registration is concerned, and it continues to increase, and that's a result of Gov. Ron DeSantis and his leadership."

Perez, when asked about a recent poll showing DeSantis' numbers as being higher than those of former President Donald Trump when Florida residents were asked about a potential 2024 presidential matchup, said he does not think his state's residents are as focused on that issue as the national media reports.

"We are focused on our reelection coming up in November," said Perez. "We're all on the ballot, and so we want to make sure not only that the governor wins his reelection, but Sen. [Marco] Rubio as well. He is campaigning very, very hard. I'm a huge fan of his, as are the rest of the Republicans here in Florida, so you know our focus is the reelection before us in November. Without that, there is no 2024."

Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., is spending heavily in her race against Rubio, but Perez said Rubio's record is "critical" in the campaign.

"He stands on the right side of issues, on the right side of policy," said Perez. "He also comes from the same background that I do, with parents who had to flee a communist regime. We don't take voting for granted.

"As Cuban Americans, we understand the importance of elections because they can get taken away from you fairly quickly. So Senator Rubio stands for all Americans. But more importantly, for me, persons of Cuban American descent, I want to make sure that we have that voice in the Senate."

Meanwhile, the economy is the major issue for Florida voters, said Perez.

"They care about the economy," he said, noting polls that put the issue at the top of the list beyond all other issues. "They care about inflation. They care about their hard work getting thrown out the window because taxes continue to increase as long as the federal government is run by Biden, and inflation is not getting taken care of … we have to rewrite the economy and under Biden, we're never going to do it."


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