Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida has entered the 2024 presidential race. The governor filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday. He was expected to announce his campaign later Wednesday during a conversation with Twitter owner Elon Musk on the social media platform. DeSantis has seen his star rise since early 2020, when his leadership in Florida became a roadmap for successful conservative governance to leaders nationwide. The governor narrowly won his first race to lead his state in 2018 when he defeated Democrat Andrew Gillum by about 30,000 votes. That proved to be the right choice for Florida, as Gillum was later forced to explain why he was in a hotel room with an alleged gay escort who had overdosed on methamphetamine. Gillum was also later arrested by the FBI over accusations of wire fraud. In November, DeSantis cruised to re-election when he soundly defeated Democrat Charlie Crist, a former Sunshine State governor who was previously a Republican and then an independent after that. DeSantis won by almost 20 points and more than 1.5 million votes in a blowout that shocked many political forecasters. The victory sealed the governor as a political force to be reckoned with, and he was quickly crowned as the future of the GOP by his most passionate supporters. En route to victory, DeSantis helped other statewide Republicans in their respective races – leaving Florida’s Democratic Party questioning not just whether it was competitive but whether it was even relevant at all in a state that went from purple to ruby red. DeSantis will now officially square off against former President Donald Trump on the campaign trail after facing attacks from the country’s 45th commander-in-chief for months. Seemingly acknowledging the governor as his toughest competition, Trump has gone on the offensive against DeSantis, questioning his leadership skills and accusing him of running an illegal shadow campaign for president. He also has attempted to belittle the 44-year-old governor with nicknames such as “Meatball Ron” and “Ron DeSanctimonious.” DeSantis largely has remained above the fray, calling Trump’s barbs “background noise” during a conversation in March with Piers Morgan. “It’s not important for me to be fighting with people on social media,” the governor said. “It’s not accomplishing anything for the people I represent.” Now, the pair — along with the other GOP hopefuls — will have a chance to make their case to voters on why they are the best person to take on President Joe Biden in 2024. While polling put the two neck-and-neck earlier this year, Trump received a boost in March when he was indicted in New York on felony charges of alleged “falsifying business records.” Recent polls have generally shown Trump leading with DeSantis in double digits. The other declared GOP candidates — former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and business executive Vivek Ramaswamy — have been in the low single digits. Last month, DeSantis was asked about trailing in the polls by a reporter, and he responded, “I’m not a candidate, so we’ll see if and when that changes.” The military veteran, Ivy League graduate, former congressman and perhaps America’s most successful governor is now a presidential candidate. The coming primary will now likely be decided by DeSantis’ ability to convince voters he, not Trump, should carry the GOP mantle. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.