Congressman Ron DeSantis spoke to a packed house filled with Donald Trump supporters today at Tiffany's Restaurant in Palm Harbor Monday. There, he echoed the president on several topics.
DeSantis pressed the flesh the day before the Republican primary, in a crowd filled with "Make America Great" hats and "Bikers for Trump" T-shirts. The northeast Florida Congressman, who has received the president's endorsement, vowed to fight illegal immigration, pushed the E-Verify system so job seekers have to show they're citizens, and said he would oppose "activist" judges.
"I will appoint justices to the state Supreme Court who understand that the proper role of a judge is to apply the law and Constitution as it's actually written," he said, "not to impose their personal philosophy on the rest of the state."
Three of those justices are set to retire on the last day of Governor Scott's administration.
DeSantis grew up in Pinellas County, and was greeted by his father and his first grade teacher. DeSantis has taken a hard line on gun control, and in the wake of the mass shooting in Jacksonville declined to say if he would champion any kind of restrictions on gun ownership.
"I was seeing people, you know the Democrats, within minutes of this saying we need to do all this stuff politically, when they didn't even know what was going on," he said. "So we're still getting some of the facts, I've been in touch with law enforcement locally, and we'll see."
DeSantis is locked in a tight race with fellow Republican Adam Putnam of Bartow, the state Agriculture Commissioner.