Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) paused his 2024 presidential campaign over the weekend as Hurricane Idalia was heading toward his state.
DeSantis declared a state of emergency for 33 counties—nearly half of Florida—ahead of the hurricane’s expected landfall along the Gulf Coast Wednesday as a category 3 with forecast winds possibly reaching 115 miles per hour.
Florida’s Emergency Center was staffed Sunday and the plan was to begin working around the clock as of 7am ET Monday, according to DeSantis, who added that he and Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie had begun conferring about the potential storm strike last week.
The Florida Highway Patrol, meanwhile, has 300 troopers on standby, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has been monitoring beach conditions.
The storm wasn’t the only crisis in the state driving DeSantis off the campaign trail. On Sunday he addressed a vigil in Jacksonville following the killing of three Black people by a white 21-year-old man who authorities say had painted swastikas on at least one of his guns and left behind white supremacist ramblings.
However, DeSantis, who has loosened gun laws in Florida and who has antagonized civil rights leaders and others by deriding so-called “wokeness,” has was booed during his remarks at the vigil with hundreds in attendance.