TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Ron DeSantis told Fox News Tuesday that he decided to activate members of the Florida National Guard at various locations in Florida on Election Day as a precaution in the event of post-election chaos.
"It wasn’t really for the election,'' he told Bill Hemmer of Fox News. “The election’s running smoothly. We don’t anticipate any problems. It was really just for anything after the election that may happen.”
The guard has not released details about the deployment but DeSantis said they will play the same role they did during the Black Lives Matter demonstrations last summer if there are post-election protests in Florida cities.
"Hopefully everything will be okay,'' he said. “But we just want to be prepared and we’re going to defend our citizens if we need to.”
In an interview Monday with the Tampa Bay Times, Lt. Col. Caitlin Brown said five Florida National Guard members are also assisting the Florida Department of State with a cybersecurity mission to support election officials with network security.
DeSantis, a Republican and one of Trump’s most loyal supporters in Florida, also repeated his prediction that based on Tuesday’s turnout, Republicans will have a stronger in-person showing on Election Day than Democrats.
"Pinellas County, a swing county, [had] Republican ballots more than two to one over Democrat ballots,'' he said. Palm Beach County, which he called “a famous Democratic bastion” is showing 15,000 Republican ballots over Democrat ballots. "That’s been unheard of,'' he said.
Hemmer asked the governor to predict if Trump would win Florida. DeSantis answered: "I think we will, Bill, unless we see some dramatic change in the turnout we’re seeing today. It’s going to be close. It always is.
“But I think he’s got the advantage and he’s going to be fueled by a significant improvement in Miami Dade County from four years ago.”.
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