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Florida lawmakers explore changing unique law to allow Gov. DeSantis to run for president without resigning as governor

Florida Republicans want to change a Florida law that would force Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) to resign from office if he campaigned for president.

What does the law say?

Florida law requires that elected officials tender an irrevocable resignation if they seek another office the term of which would overlap with the term of their current office.

“No person may qualify as a candidate for more than one public office, whether federal, state, district, county, or municipal, if the terms or any part thereof run concurrently with each other,” the law explains. “No officer may qualify as a candidate for another state, district, county, or municipal public office if the terms or any part thereof run concurrently with each other without resigning from the office he or she presently holds.”

“The resignation is irrevocable,” it states.

What are lawmakers doing?

Florida Republicans are openly saying the law should be changed so that it does not impact DeSantis.

Both Florida state House Speaker Paul Renner (R) and state Senate President Kathleen Passidomo (R) believe it is a “good idea” to ensure that if DeSantis campaigns for president, he will not be forced to resign as governor, Politico reported.

“If an individual who is Florida governor is running for president, I think he should be allowed to do it,” Passidomo said. “I really do. That’s a big honor and a privilege, so it is a good idea.”

Moreover, Renner said he believes the law should be changed because Florida lawmakers have been “inconsistent” about the Sunshine State’s “resign-to-run” statute.

“You will find me to always try to hone toward being principled and consistent,” Renner said. “This is one area that, going back in history — you don’t have to go very far on a kind of two-second Google search — we’ve been totally inconsistent on. If you think that’s based on anything in your hypothetical, you would be right, and I’ll be very open and transparent about that.”

The law was last changed in 2008 to allow then-Gov. Charlie Crist to potentially seek the vice presidency as John McCain’s running mate. That, of course, never happened because McCain chose then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Florida lawmakers again changed the law in 2018, restoring the “resign-to-run” provision.

Anything else?

DeSantis has not announced a presidential campaign.

But if he does, political insiders believe it could come sometime next spring — after the Florida legislature begins its 2023 session.