Saturday, December 23, 2023

ANNALS OF DeSANTISTAN: Ron DeSantis campaign can’t ‘commit’ to pay travel costs for Iowa caucus supporters. (A.G. Gancarski, Florida Politics, December 21, 2023)

With a federal change expected to lead to a surge in migrants crossing the country’s southern border, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday signed a controversial bill that targets illegal immigration. The bill (SB 1718), which the Republican-controlled Legislature passed during the session that ended last week, includes stepping up requirements on businesses to check the immigration status of workers, cracking down on people who bring undocumented immigrants into Florida and collecting data about whether hospital patients are in the country legally.


'If you’re not comfortable with the possibility of paying your own way, we completely understand.'

The Ron DeSantis campaign is encouraging supporters from around the country to come to Iowa next month for the pivotal caucuses to try to sway locals into backing its candidate.

But in an email to supporters, they’re saying those committed backers need to be prepared to pay their own way.

“Since we’re doing what we can to make it from Iowa to New Hampshire to South Carolina, we aren’t able to commit at this time to paying for everything for the few hundred surrogates we’ll have up here,” wrote Amanda Vargo, on behalf of the campaign.

“If you’re not comfortable with the possibility of paying your own way, we completely understand. We will do our best to connect you with others joining us from out of state and those who are local to help defray transport and hotel costs.”

Vargo suggests that Iowans will welcome those from elsewhere to be a part of their “very localized process, where neighbors are thrown into a room and vote for their Presidential Nominee.”

“Candidates can have surrogates speak on their behalf at caucus night. We have more than 500 caucus locations that we’re looking to fill, and we’d love to have some of Governor DeSantis’ trusted supporters speak on his behalf! It’s an all-hands-on-deck effort!”

The DeSantis campaign is leaving open the possibility that their imported supporters will potentially “be the only advocate in the room for Governor DeSantis.” But they don’t have to worry about what to say, as talking points will be provided.

“You’ll be given the floor to read a script we’ll provide and give the caucus-goers some personal reasons why you support Governor DeSantis. Your speech, whether to a room of 20 or 100 people, could be someone in that room’s deciding vote (some of them come into caucus still undecided) and that level of impact across the state makes all the difference.”

The email follows up on a call from First Lady Casey DeSantis to “moms and grandmoms to come from wherever it might be — North Carolina, South Carolina — and descend upon the state of Iowa to be a part of the caucus because you do not have to be a resident of Iowa to be able to participate in the caucus.”

Casey DeSantis clarified these comments during a later event in Iowa, noting that the campaign knows “that they cannot vote in the caucus process, but they can come and volunteer and they can be a part of it in that way, so you’re seeing people from North Carolina, from South Carolina, from Florida, in particular coming because they feel so strongly about protecting the future of their kids.

The Iowa GOP noted that all caucus participants must actually live in the state in the wake of those comments, while the Donald Trump campaign suggested the DeSantises were engaged in a voter fraud scheme.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at or on Twitter: @AGGancarski

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Waste of stupid people's money and publicity stunt for nothing. People paying for DeSantis to go meet with other people for his own amusement... before he heads off to The Villages for good. His political career is over after his term as governor guaranteed. Maybe he will continue to talk and stir the pot but that's about it.