TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The state’s second in command said she will likely take on more responsibilities in the coming months. That’s when the Florida governor turns his attention to his race for the White House in 2024.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to fly out next week to visit early swing states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. But Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunes said Thursday that DeSantis will continue to lead.

“Well, make no mistake about it,” DeSantis’ Republican cohort said. “He’s still the governor of the great state of Florida. He’s still going to be very active in making sure that whatever we need to do here in the state of Florida, he’s going to be a part of.”


DeSantis is running his presidential campaign on a 4-day blitz of early states

18:01, May 25, 2023

DeSantis, Nunes said, will remain the top dog in state government, but that she will step up as needed when he’s gone — whether it’s for events, meetings and especially when the fall leads to the build-up to the January legislative session.

“I will probably try to be more involved in the legislative priorities as we develop them,” Nunes said. “But, again, nothing is going to change in terms of Florida being fine. Nobody should panic. The governor is still very focused on Florida, but he has a tremendous amount of energy and passion and strength. So, I think , he will succeed.”

Nunez is a Florida native and mother of three. She served in the Florida House for eight years before becoming DeSantis’ lieutenant governor. She too approved DeSantis for president earlier this week. When asked Thursday what would happen if he wins the White House, the governor appeared to return the favor.

“Our lieutenant governor will take the reins — Jeanette Nunez,” DeSantis said. “She’s done a great job. She’s been with us on all these different issues, so you’re going to see continuity in the governor’s office.”

Nunes confirmed that continuity when she spoke Thursday and said Florida residents who like DeSantis will see the same.

“I think the people of Florida should rest easy knowing that he had confidence in me and he chose me to be his lieutenant governor not once, but twice,” she said. “So I think they should also be reassured knowing that I have their best interests at heart as well.”

Rebecca Blackwell/AP

Incumbent Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, right, waves with his lieutenant governor, Jeanette Nunez, at an election night party after winning his re-election race in Tampa, Fla., Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell )

Supreme Democrats, however, are not satisfied. Nikki Fried, the state Democratic Party chairman, has serious reservations about Nunes. Fried said the lieutenant governor has not been vetted.

“Now we will have a person who makes the daily decisions, [who is] will implement everything [DeSantis’] political outlook and concern for his legacy,” Fried said. “And it’s unfortunate that we’re going to have to deal with DeSantis 2.0 in Jeanette Nunes.”

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