Republican congressional candidates in Florida are claiming Gov. Ron DeSantis' image despite him not endorsing a single Florida congressional candidate, Politico reported Monday.
DeSantis is among the most popular governors in the country and is second only to former President Donald Trump among Republicans. Several Florida candidates seeking election to Congress have included DeSantis' face and name in their campaigns despite not holding his endorsement, according to Politico.
"The country is running out of time, and we need people with [DeSantis’] philosophy in D.C.," state Rep. Anthony Sabatini said in a recent GOP primary debate. Sabatini is running with a slew of other Republicans to replace Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla.
Republican Laurel Lee, running for Florida's 15th Congressional District, has also touted her connections to DeSantis. The governor previously appointed her as his secretary of state, the top elections official.
"For Congress, there’s just one candidate trusted by Gov. DeSantis to secure our elections: Laurel Lee," an ad for Lee states.
"It’s part of everyone’s pitch to voters, but in my case it isn’t fiction," she added of being allied with DeSantis, according to Politico.
DeSantis first gained widespread popularity for his COVID-19 policies. The governor refused to impose lockdown measures and mask mandates even as the rest of the country did so. He instead focused on protecting the Floridians most vulnerable to the virus.
DeSantis has also been outspoken on cultural issues, signing a 15-week abortion ban into law just prior to the end of Roe v. Wade. He has also pushed for reforms to civics education in Florida public schools, which he says currently "indoctrinates" students against America.
"You're learning the real history, you're learning the real facts, but it’s not going to be done in a way that’s trying to indoctrinate students with whatever modern agenda that somebody may have," DeSantis said in June.
While DeSantis has yet to endorse any of his state's congressional candidates, he has issued endorsements on the state and local level, including candidates for the Florida state legislature and school boards.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Gov. DeSatnis had not yet made a "single endorsement." We changed it to reflect that he has made prior endorsements. The article also didn't make clear in the headline that this was based on Politico’s reporting. We added "report" to the headline to reflect that.