Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) will skip this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), according to a person familiar with the plans.
The likely 2024 Republican presidential hopeful is opting instead to head off on a jam-packed travel schedule that includes several stops in Florida to promote his new book, as well as GOP dinners in Texas and an appearance at the Club for Growth’s annual donor retreat.
DeSantis was never listed among the speakers at this year’s CPAC, the prominent annual gathering of conservatives that will kick off just outside of Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. But some Republicans had privately expressed hope that he would attend, given that he’s expected to mount a bid for the White House later this year.
Other 2024 Republican hopefuls, including former President Trump and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, are set to speak at CPAC this year. The list also includes would-be contenders like former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Of course, DeSantis has said little about his 2024 ambitions, and isn’t expected to jump into the race until at least May. In an appearance on “Fox & Friends” last week, DeSantis said he would wait until after the Florida state legislature wraps up its regular session to make a decision on a presidential bid.
“We’re going to sell some books, we’re going to spread the message of Florida. And then on March 8, I have our Legislative Session that’s kicking off,” DeSantis said.
“You ain’t seen nothing yet,” he added. “This is going to be the most productive Legislative Session we have had across the board and I think people are going to be really excited … So those are what we’re going to be doing over these next few months as we get beyond that, then we can decide from there.”