Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ travels in advance of an anticipated presidential campaign will take him next month to Ohio, where he will headline a Republican dinner in a Cincinnati suburb.
DeSantis has been booked as the featured speaker for the Butler County GOP’s Lincoln Day dinner, county Chairman Todd Hall confirmed Wednesday to NBC News.
The April 13 fundraiser, which will benefit the county party, has been in the works for weeks.
Fliers for the event, which began circulating Wednesday, feature a photo of DeSantis and an image of Florida, with the caption "Freedom Lives Here."
For DeSantis, it adds another state to a tour that in recent weeks has included Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and California. This week he’s scheduled to headline an Alabama Republican Party dinner and he will be in the important early state of Iowa this weekend. DeSantis has been promoting a recently published book that holds up Florida as a model for the country, and his trips beyond his home state are widely viewed as a trial run for a White House bid he’s expected to launch after the state’s legislative session ends in May.
Polls have shown DeSantis as the strongest alternative to former President Donald Trump, who already has declared his candidacy for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. The race also includes Nikki Haley, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and several lesser-known candidates.
Butler County is a Republican suburban stronghold in southwest Ohio. West Chester, the township where DeSantis is scheduled to speak, is the home of former House Speaker John Boehner. Trump lost Ohio’s 2016 primary to the state’s then-governor, John Kasich, a strident Trump critic. But Trump rebounded to win Ohio in the general election by 8-point margins in 2016 and 2020.