Column: Ron DeSantis is hitting N.H. way too early

  • Florida Governor Ron DeSantis delivers the "State of the State" address at the Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida, on March 7, 2023. (Cheney Orr/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)

  • A vendor sells buttons as people wait in line to hear Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speak on March 10, 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa. (Scott Olson/Getty Images/TNS) Getty Images — Scott Olson

  • Contributor Wayne Gersen in West Lebanon, N.H., on April 12, 2019. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to Geoff Hansen

For the Valley News
Published: 5/23/2023 9:37:42 AM
Modified: 5/23/2023 9:35:12 AM

One advantage to living in New Hampshire is our state’s commitment to holding the first primary election. This means that we get many opportunities to see candidates up close and personal and receive a wealth of information from them. As an apocryphal story goes, when a reporter asked a crusty old-timer in New Hampshire what he thought of a particular Presidential candidate before the primary, his response was: “I don’t know, I haven’t met him yet.”

The disadvantage to New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation status is that residents are swamped with mailers and phone calls in the weeks leading up to the primary. This wave of unwelcome phone calls and junk mail typically occurs the late Fall before the election. But this year, one GOP candidate is really jumping the gun in sending out mailers for 2024! Earlier this week I received my fourth mailing from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has not even declared his intention to run for President. A four-page multi-colored document titled “The Blueprint for Freedom”, the mailer includes a several photos of Gov. DeSantis: one of him in front of a flag; one with his family; one surrounded by admiring elected officials watching as he signs a piece of legislation; and one of him smilingly displaying certificates he appears to be awarding to school children. The flyer describes the GOP Governor as being “Dedicated to Service. A Fighter. A Winner” and features his “NEVER BACK DOWN” slogan with the “R” and “D” highlighted in red.

DeSantis has not limited his early outreach to mailers. To make certain I am aware of his candidacy, DeSantis has sent me numerous texts from different phone numbers. The texts include short messages and inspirational TikTok-length videos telling me about his courage in the military, his skills as a little leaguer and collegiate baseball player at Yale, his love of family, and his willingness to fight the “woke” elites. And despite my blocking of each phone number, my classifying the texts as “junk,” and my efforts to stem the clogging of my text inbox of his unwanted and unwelcome messages, they keep coming like the magic brooms with buckets in Disney’s “Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”

There are some Republicans I voted for in the past, ones like Warren Rudman who sought middle ground on contentious issues and worked across the aisle to solve tough problems. But I would never vote for a politician like DeSantis, who strives to focus on issues that divide people. I would never support anyone who bans books, suppresses voting rights, ignores the will of the voters in his state, 83% of whom support gun control, opposes responsible corporate investing, denies climate change, refuses to mandate vaccinations, opposes full funding of public education, opposes LGBTQ+ rights, and accepts the ex-President’s claim that the 2020 election he lost by 7 million votes was “stolen” due to voting fraud. As a self-identified member of the “ivory tower woke elites” who DeSantis “stood up to” and would presumably be steamrolled by his “movement,” I cannot imagine why he is repeatedly sending me these glossy ads and texts seeking my support.

Like DeSantis I do not give up easily. I blocked several different Florida and New Hampshire phone numbers that sent the unwanted texts, but when they continued to come my way I decided to respond them. One text I received Tuesday at 3:10 PM began “We Never Back Down, Wayne” and asserted that “With liberty on the line we need a leader who will stop at nothing. We must remain relentless in our fight for freedom.” My response was: “If liberty is on the line, I hope that you would reinforce the fact that the 2020 election was neither rigged nor stolen. Otherwise, I can only conclude that you backed down to the ex-President’s lies.” The other text, which came at 7:30 that evening asked me to join the “grassroots effort to bring strong, refined leadership to the White House” and closed “We need you on our team.” My response was: “Refined leaders don’t pull stunts like sending immigrants from Texas to Massachusetts… I won’t be joining your team.” At 9:30 Mr. DeSantis’ team responded that I had “successfully unsubscribed and will receive no additional messages from this number.”

Forty eight hours later DeSantis hasn’t sent me any more texts. But I expect more to come because DeSantis promised he will Never Back Down. I just hope he will wait until late fall to send them.

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