Let me just start out by saying this pair deserves each other — truly a dynamic coupling.
The news is a bit old at this point, but I just came across it today and it’s worth catching up on: Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and Ohio’s Republican Senate candidate J.D. Vance held a little campaign rally together in Ohio on Friday, ostensibly to scratch each other’s back.
According to a few local reports, DeSantis barely mentioned Vance in his keynote address and spent most of his time hyping his own policy victories in Florida, condemning wokeness and playacting as a spiritual adviser to score political points, urging audience members to put on the “full armor of God” and “take a stand against the left’s schemes, stand firm, stand your ground, don’t back down.”
But Vance can’t be mad at DeSantis for, seemingly, using Vance’s status as an Ohio Senate candidate to his political advantage — DeSantis is flirting with a 2024 bid and Ohio just happens to be one of those places where you might need Republican voters on your side, especially if you want to launch a primary bid against the bombastic ex-president. DeSantis is popular among conservatives outside of Florida, even among Trump supporters, due to his state’s shrugging approach to the pandemic.
So DeSantis may have provided a necessary boost for Vance, who has not had a large campaign appearance since his primary win in May. But Vance is also struggling in the financial department. Earlier this month, the National Republican Senatorial Committee canceled millions in ad spending in some battleground states in order to better fund the campaigns of some underperforming candidates in states that are must-wins for the Republican Party, like Vance’s. Just last week the Senate Leadership Fund devoted $28 million in ad spending to Vance’s campaign ahead of his face-off with Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan this fall.
Though DeSantis may have largely ignored Vance, the two were united in their attacks on the media.
According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer/Cleveland.com, both DeSantis and Vance’s crews put absurd restrictions on the local and national press who tried to cover the rally. The rules were so binding that the newspaper not only chose to not send reporters to the event, but also published a “Letter From the Editor,” explaining just how aggressive the regulations were. Per the Cleveland publication, reporters were apparently told they would not be allowed to interview people attending the event who were not part of a list pre-approved attendees selected by organizers. Organizers also tried to impose rules on video shot at the event, reserving the right to use anything filmed for their own promotional purposes.
“When we cover events, we talk to anyone we wish. It’s America, after all, the land of free speech,” Cleveland.com’s editor Chris Quinn wrote ahead of the event. “At least that’s America as it exists today. Maybe not the America that would exist under DeSantis and Vance.
“Think about what they were doing here,” he continued. “They were staging an event to rally people to vote for Vance while instituting the kinds of policies you’d see in a fascist regime. A wannabe U.S. Senator, and maybe a wannabe president.”
You can read Quinn’s letter in its entirety here.
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