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DeSantis Stumps for JD Vance in Ohio, Launches Statewide Education Tour During Busy Weekend

Unopposed in the Aug. 23 Florida gubernatorial primary, Gov. Ron DeSantis encouraged a standing-room-only audience to vote for Ohio Republican U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Vance at a rally in suburban Youngstown on Aug. 19.

The event—which was held in the home area of Vance’s opponent, 10-term U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio)—was one of the multiple appearances DeSantis is making on behalf of conservative Republican candidates and Turning Point Action.

At the “Unite and Win” rally, DeSantis touted his response to the COVID-19 crisis, spoke out against “woke ideology,” and addressed cultural issues like critical race theory and transgender athletes participating in women’s sports.

In Ohio, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine is projected to win reelection in November, although many conservative voters across the state do not approve of his handling of the COVID-19 crisis.

J.D. Vance, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Ohio, and his wife Usha Vance wave to supporters after winning the Ohio Republican Senate primary election at an election night event at Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, on May 3, 2022. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

DeSantis criticized mask and vaccine mandates and business closures related to the pandemic. He mentioned that Florida “never mandated anything” and that the state maintained a thriving economy as a result. He said that private sector employment in Florida grew by 70,000 in July 2022.

“And I can tell you none of that would have been possible if we had let our state over the last two years descend into some type of Faucian dystopia,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis continues his campaign for reelection, and he is widely seen as a potential 2024 presidential candidate.

Before taking the stage in the Youngstown suburb of Girard, DeSantis joined Pennyslvania’s GOP gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano at an event in Pittsburgh earlier in the day.

DeSantis started his speech in Ohio by talking about his family’s Youngstown area ties.

His mother, Karen DeSantis, was raised in the nearby village of Poland, and his maternal grandparents moved to the region in the 1930s.

In the 1970s, Karen DeSantis attended Youngstown State University where she met fellow student Ron DeSantis. The couple married and moved to Florida that same decade. Gov. DeSantis was born in Jacksonville in 1978.

Casey DeSantis, the governor’s wife, was born in Troy, which is located in western Ohio.

“If you know anything about our state, you know you don’t have to look very far to find somebody from Ohio,” DeSantis joked after he was introduced at the rally.

DeSantis believes that, if elected, Vance will follow the formula of leadership that has worked in Florida. He said that he expects Republicans will regain the majority in the House and Senate, and that it is important to not only accomplish that objective but also elect candidates who reflect a constitutional conservative platform.

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) speaks during an event at the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati, Ohio on Oct. 13, 2019. (Duane Prokop/Getty Images for Wellness Your Way Festival)

Endorsed By Trump

Last week, an Emerson College poll showed J.D. Vance with a three-percentage point lead over Ryan in the Ohio U.S. Senate race to replace retiring Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio).

Endorsed by Donald Trump, Vance has 45 percent of the support among likely voters compared to Ryan’s 42 percent, the poll indicated.

Among those surveyed, 4 percent plan to vote for another person, and 10 percent are undecided.

The margin of error is plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.

“We need people who are going to go up there and do something with the majority,” DeSantis said. “Stop talking and actually get something done. I think J.D. is going to be a leader, not a follower.”

Vance talked about the escalating number of opioid-related deaths in America,  the influx of fentanyl arriving in the United States from Mexico, and how Ryan has “not lifted a finger to stop [President Joe] Biden’s assault on the southern border.”

“We know the reason why a record number of people are dying is that Biden and Ryan have turned the southern border into the world’s capital of drug trafficking,” Vance said. “He [Ryan] has not offered a single piece of legislation to fix the border, and he has voted with Biden 100 percent of the time.”

Vance also discussed how Ryan “claims he is for the working people of Youngstown and Ohio” but that he voted for “the Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act, which analysis shows will increase taxes on the middle class.”

The bill will impact Americans making less than $200,000, according to the nonpartisan Joint Economic Committee. The same legislation will provide money to hire 87,000 new IRS agents, Vance pointed out.

‘DeSantis Education Agenda’

It is a busy weekend for DeSantis. On Aug. 21, DeSantis launches a statewide tour to promote his education platform and a slate of school board candidates he has endorsed.

The DeSantis Education Agenda Tour will include events in Miami-Dade, Sarasota, Volusia, and Duval counties.

The candidates have “pledged to run on the DeSantis Education Agenda” and are “committed to advancing Governor DeSantis’s agenda at the local school board level,” according to a statement from Friends of Ron DeSantis.

“These pro-parent, pro-student local school board candidates are committed to the DeSantis Education Agenda,” DeSantis said in a statement. “Parental rights, curriculum transparency, and classrooms free of woke ideology are all on the ballot this election, and it starts with school board elections.

“Florida’s school boards need members who will defend our students and stand up for parental rights and will ensure Florida’s children are protected from woke ideology in their classrooms,” DeSantis added. “I am proud to stand by each of them.”

At the Aug. 19 rally in Ohio, DeSantis talked about the multiple education-related initiatives he has passed as governor.

Over the last year, he has signed laws prohibiting critical race theory in schools, banning classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity before third grade, and increasing parental rights in schools.

The governor has also spearheaded measures to recruit teachers and encourage veterans to become teachers.

Florida has drawn a “clear line in the sand” that schools should educate kids instead of indoctrinating them, DeSantis said.

Florida banned critical race theory in its K–12 schools so children “are not taught to hate the United States or to hate each other based on race.”

“We can’t just stand idly by while woke ideology ravages every institution in our society,” DeSantis said.

“We must fight the woke in our schools. We must fight the woke in our businesses. We must fight the woke in government agencies. We can never ever surrender to woke ideology,” DeSantis added. “And I’ll tell you this, the state of Florida is where woke goes to die.”

Jeff Louderback


Jeff Louderback is a national reporter for The Epoch Times who is based in Ohio and covers U.S. Senate, U.S. House and gubernatorial races in Ohio and surrounding states.

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