By BRENDAN FARRINGTON
AP Political Writer
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Republican U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis will announce Wednesday that he’s running for the Senate seat Marco Rubio is giving up to seek the GOP presidential nomination.
Two advisers close to DeSantis confirmed his plans to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the announcement has not been made public yet.
DeSantis, a favorite among conservative political groups, was elected in 2012 and overwhelmingly re-elected last year. He is a former member of the Navy Judge Advocate General `s Corps who was deployed to Iraq in 2007. He will enter the race by releasing a statement, the advisers said.
“As a candidate for Senate, I look forward to offering reforms based on limited government principles that will make our country stronger and more prosperous. I see a bright future for Florida and for America and my campaign will be about the ideas and principles that will help us achieve a more perfect union,” DeSantis said in a copy of the statement provided to AP.
DeSantis is the first major Republican to announce plans to run for Rubio’s seat. He will begin the campaign with more than $1 million that he’ll transfer from a House campaign account.
He is outspoken on issues like federal spending, national security, taxes and the need for congressional term limits.
“America needs a new generation of leaders to address the big issues facing the country: alleviating the middle class squeeze and promoting economic opportunity, confronting the significant national security challenges threatening the safety of our people, and reforming the culture of Washington, DC,” DeSantis said in the statement.
Desantis, 36, lives in Ponte Vedra Beach. His district stretches from the outskirts of Jacksonville to the area south of Daytona Beach. He serves on the House Judiciary, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight and Government Reform committees.
DeSantis was born in Jacksonville and grew up in Dunedin. He was a history major at Yale University, where he graduated with honors and was captain of the baseball team. He received his law degree from Harvard University.
DeSantis has also worked as a federal prosecutor and is a lieutenant commander in the Navy reserves.
He has received high scores from conservative groups, including a current 100 percent scorecard from Heritage Foundation and a 95 percent lifetime rating from the Club for Growth. He was one of the nine congressmen who started the House Freedom Caucus, an invitation-only group that champions “accountable and limited government, the Constitution and the rule of law, and policies that promote the liberty, safety and prosperity of all Americans.”
He recently worked with Rubio to file the House companion bill on a measure that would eliminate payroll taxes for seniors older than 65.
He has also filed a measure that would eliminate pensions for members of Congress and is pushing for a constitutional amendment to limit House members to three terms and senators to two terms.
The only other major announced candidate for Rubio’s seat is Democratic U.S. Patrick Murphy, who represents St. Lucie and Martin Counties and part of Palm Beach County.
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