After his long-awaited decision, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has officially announced his presidential campaign, joining six other Republicans to throw their hat in the ring. 

“If you nominate me, you can set your clock to January 2025 at high noon because at the west side of the U.S. capital I will be taking the oath of office as the 47th president of the United States,” DeSantis said Wednesday night.  

After some hiccups and about 30 minutes of the app crashing repeatedly, Twitter hosted the announcement of DeSantis’ presidential run. Over a half a billion listeners tuned in at one point. 

DeSantis joins former President Donald Trump, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott as prominent Republican candidates. An April poll done by the University of New Hampshire shows Trump has an overwhelming early favorite in the Granite State primary, but Vermont GOP Chair Paul Dame says those in the Green Mountain State are ready for a change. 

“Republicans have backed away from Trump,” Dame said. 

Dame says Trump’s presence has sparked both a national and local divide between extremists and centrists within the Republican party, and he thinks DeSantis could be the candidate to repair that. 

“There is a lot of confidence in his ability to lead in even some of these crisis situations and trying to look forward an advance conservative goals in other places,” he said. “Looking at tax relief, looking at education reform.” 

Alongside Elon Musk, DeSantis continued to take aim at what he refers to as ‘woke-culture’ and touted his role in Hurricane Ian relief, and the banning of critical race theory from Florida institutions along with gender education in elementary schools after a lengthy court battle with Disney. 

“We believe jamming gender ideology in elementary schools is wrong,” DeSantis said. “Disney supported injecting gender ideology into elementary schools. I think a lot of parents including me look at that and say ‘that’s not appropriate’. We want our kids to just be kids.” 

With both Trump and DeSantis now in the running, Vermont’s Democrats – who hold a supermajority in the House and Senate – think the divide within the GOP could grow larger. They fear the two candidates’ ideology and temperament could seep into more of Vermont’s Republican candidates. 

“It is a worry that is going to be more popular in Vermont with the head of the government feeling so progressive compared to everyone else,” said Emily Bowers, the communications director of the party. 

She says that Vermonters deserve a better presidential palate. 

“Donald Trump is a bit of a menace and what we think is a threat to democracy as it stands, Ron DeSantis is a bit of the same with less personality,” Bowers said.