BREAKING: DeSantis expected to launch 2024 presidential campaign in mid-May

"It feels like a team that is staffing up, not scaling down."

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is said to be jumping into the GOP presidential candidate race as soon as mid-May. DeSantis would enter a field of candidates led by Donald Trump.

One GOP operative familiar with the matter revealed to NBC News that the foray into the presidential candidate field would be an exploratory committee, with an official launch coming soon after.

Some of the Florida Republican’s backers are urging him to declare as soon as May 11, while others in the governor’s circle have argued that the date would be too soon, according to two GOP operatives. All of the sources emphasized that mid-May is the target date.

National political vendors arrived in Tallahassee this week, competing for work on DeSantis’ potential campaign.

"There has been an influx of national firms in town over the last few days," said one of the Florida GOP operatives familiar with the meetings. "It feels like a team that is staffing up, not scaling down."

A second operative said the meetings signal a likely presidential campaign announcement could launch sooner than expected, even as Trump has soared ahead in polling.

"Large campaigns require in-house planning, and this has been ‘vendors: assemble’ week in Tallahassee," said a third source familiar with the meetings. 

According to NBC News, "A launch in mid-May would help alleviate growing frustrations among potential supporters who are concerned that DeSantis risks squandering the momentum that had made him so attractive as a Trump alternative in the first place."

"A good politician knows when their moment is and they seize the opportunity; there’s no question that the door is swinging against DeSantis," said Michigan-based Republican strategist who wants to support DeSantis in 2024 Dennis Lennox. "Gov. DeSantis is the only Republican who can beat Trump. He is the only Republican who can beat Joe Biden. But he’s starting to look like a Scott Walker in 2015, Newt Gingrich in 2012 and Fred Thompson in 2008 — maybe even a Chris Christie, who ended up not getting into the race."

The revelation comes as the Florida Senate passed a bill on Wednesday allowing the governor to run for president without having to resign from his position. That bill still must pass the House.

In recent weeks DeSantis has made stops across the country and around the world, including in Japan, meeting with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida as the first stop on his 2023 international trade mission.

DeSantis’ international travels were said to be a move to bolster his foreign policy expertise ahead of the potential presidential run.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

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