CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) – Florida Governor and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis spent just over an hour with those willing to spend money to hear him at Central Penn College, and he received good reviews from Republicans on hand.
“I thought he was very impressive,” said Mike Acker, who attended the event. “The things that he’s been able to accomplish in Florida have been very impressive. I’m a part-time resident of that state, so I get to witness it myself. And he’s done it. He’s done a good job.”
Central Penn College reiterated that it was a private event and it merely provided the venue. The college says in no way should Tuesday’s event be construed as an endorsement of Governor DeSantis.
Cumberland County’s Republican Party Chair Lou Capozzi, who also attended the DeSantis event, described the Florida Governor as someone with “very good moral compass” and “great leadership skills.”
“I think he’s a person who’s reasonable and willing to listen,” said Capozzi.
Organizers estimate the DeSantis campaign left $100,000 richer, but the Pennsylvania primary is at least six months away and Republicans were noncommittal.
“I think it’s a long way from being over,” said Acker. “I think a lot of things have to settle themselves out and, you know, see what happens at the end. But, you know, you got Trump’s trials coming up. We’ll see where they go, where that leaves us. So, yeah, at this point, I’m just listening to everybody.”
The GOP primary field is crowded and many contenders will be gone before they reach Pennsylvania’s May primary. Perhaps the DeSantis appearance means he believes he’ll be around awhile.
“Once the candidates get weaned out a little bit, I think a lot of that support is going to go to Ron DeSantis, and I think you’ll see his polling numbers go up,” said Capozzi.
DeSantis declined our request for an interview and statewide Democrats criticized his appearance in a statement, saying “DeSantis has shown us that he’s more concerned about passing extreme abortion bans, banning books, erasing history, and shilling for the ultra-wealthy.”
“I don’t think he’s extreme at all,” said Capozzi. “Anyone in this area that has any sense of values knows that Ron DeSantis does the right thing. You know, damn the consequences.”