Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is facing controversy and resistance from a political faction he likely didn't expect opposition from: Florida's Senate Republicans.
According to Politico, the Republican-led Florida Senate, along with the state's Republican Senate president Wilton Simpson, recently pushed back against a number of DeSantis' initiatives. One point of contention centers on the controversial congressional maps DeSantis is proposing.
"According to more than a dozen state lawmakers, members of the governor’s administration, and Florida political operatives, the conflicts stem from DeSantis using hard-nosed tactics to strong-arm the Legislature, disagreements between lawmakers and the governor’s new chief of staff and DeSantis’ lobbying campaign to pressure Simpson to pass a long-stalled anti-union bill. That effort peaked after conservative groups contacted by the governor’s team bought $75,000 in ads against Simpson in his own district."
Senate Republicans have made their refusal to cooperate apparent as they've "resisted fulfilling his $100 billion-plus state budget and rejected his attempts to reign in tech and social media companies."
Another issue that underscores the rift between DeSantis and his colleagues is the Senate's refusal to fund a $100 million request to grant funding for cancer research. That request was made by DeSantis' wife who was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. Some lawmakers, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, shed light on the tension between DeSantis and [Senate president] Simpson.
“It’s really not hard to see,” said one Republican senator. “There is bad blood between [Simpson and DeSantis] right now. It will likely work itself out in the end, but right now they are not in a good place.”
A Republican operative also weighed in with a brief assessment of the situation. “It appears the governor has lost a lot of institutional knowledge about the process when he got his new chief of staff,” said one veteran Republican operative. “His former chiefs of staff understood the legislative process. It feels like James Uthmeier does not understand that as much and thinks everyone is on his pace.”
Despite the on-record acknowledgements of intraparty tension, DeSantis' office attempted to downplay the rift. Taryn Fenske, the governor’s communications director, released a statement addressing the claims.
“The Governor’s Office continues to work in close cooperation with the Legislature and we look forward to having a successful session with their partnership,” said Fenske.