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Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor and potential 2024 presidential candidate, is visiting Texas in March to help raise money for county Republican parties.
DeSantis will headline the Harris County GOP’s Lincoln Reagan Dinner on March 3 and then another party dinner in Dallas County the next day, according to two people familiar with the planning who were not authorized to speak on the record before the announcement was made public. The county parties confirmed DeSantis' appearances Wednesday morning.
"Alongside Texas, Florida is one of the nation's most prosperous and free states thanks to Governor Ron DeSantis' leadership," the chair of the Harris County GOP, Cindy Siegel, said in a statement. "His decisive actions and bold policy agenda have led to historic accomplishments for the Republican Party and the people of Florida. We are thrilled to host Governor DeSantis at this year's Lincoln Reagan Dinner as he shares his Freedom Blueprint with Harris County!”
The news of DeSantis’ visit comes as speculation continues to mount that he could make a 2024 presidential bid against former President Donald Trump, who is already running. The money raised at the dinners will benefit the county parties, though the events give DeSantis an audience with GOP activists and donors in Houston and Dallas, home to some of the party’s most prolific contributors nationwide.
Individual tickets start at $500 for the Reagan Day Dinner in Dallas, and $250 for the Houston event.
Texas’ own governor, Greg Abbott, is also considered a possible 2024 contender. While he has kept open the possibility he could run, his aides say he would not consider until after the current legislative session, which ends in late May. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, who ran for the White House in 2016, is also discussed as a potential 2024 candidate, though he has said in recent weeks that he is running for reelection to his Senate seat.
While Trump already announced a comeback campaign, many prominent Texas Republicans have not rushed to support him, and some are waiting to see what DeSantis does. In some of the state’s conservative circles, DeSantis has already leapfrogged Trump as the GOP’s most exciting leader.
Indeed, a save the date for the Dallas County GOP dinner teased DeSantis as “the most requested guest in America.”
A December survey of likely Texas primary voters from CWS Research, a conservative pollster, found DeSantis trailing Trump by only 1 percentage point in a hypothetical nominating contest.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who twice chaired Trump's campaign in Texas, endorsed him earlier this month for 2024. Patrick said last week he did not know DeSantis personally but that he has "done a really good job" as Florida governor.