Gov. Ron DeSantis said he will skip a planned campaign appearance in South Carolina on Monday and instead stay in Florida as the state gears up for Tropical Storm Idalia, which could make landfall as a hurricane later this week.
DeSantis, who is running for the GOP nomination for president, was expected to headline the Faith & Freedom BBQ, the largest annual gathering of Republicans in South Carolina.
Instead, he said during a news conference Sunday that he’ll stay in the state as the storm approaches.
“I’m here. I’m here,” he said in response to a question.
Bryan Griffin, who is with DeSantis’ campaign, posted on Twitter that first lady Casey DeSantis will attend the South Carolina event in the Florida governor’s stead.
Meanwhile, a planned Monday morning DeSantis town hall in Kershaw, South Carolina, was canceled.
DeSantis on Saturday issued a state of emergency for 33 counties, including those in the Tampa Bay area, as Idalia moves toward Florida.
On Sunday evening, the National Hurricane Center placed the Tampa Bay area and other portions of Florida’s Gulf Coast under a hurricane and storm surge watch.
“Floridians along our Gulf Coast should be vigilant even if you’re currently outside the cone,” DeSantis said during his news conference Sunday from the state’s Emergency Operations Center.
DeSantis later Sunday appeared at a vigil outside a Jacksonville store where three Black people were shot and killed Saturday by a white man who authorities say left behind a suicide note, a will and writings with racist material.
The governor, who was met with boos when he briefly addressed the crowd, called the gunman a “scumbag” and said there was no tolerance for racist violence in Florida.
Information from the Associated Press was included in this report.
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