Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to speak in Peoria in May
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will speak to Republicans in Peoria next month.
The likely 2024 GOP presidential candidate will be the keynote speaker for the Peoria and Tazewell County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner on May 12. He's coming at the invitation of U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood (R-Dunlap).
Though he hasn't announced yet, DeSantis is widely seen as a frontrunner for the Republican nomination, along with former President Donald Trump.
He's known for taking on "culture war" issues that appeal to the Republican Party's base. That includes the so-called "Don't Say Gay" law forbidding teachers from talking about sexual orientation or gender identity issues with young children. He also stripped away Disney World's special governmental status after the company's leadership expressed opposition to that law.
The chairmen of the Tazewell and Peoria County Republican parties say DeSantis' "strong, common sense conservative agenda" is a contrast to Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, a Democrat who won reelection by 12 points last November. DeSantis defeated former Gov. Charlie Crist by nearly 20 points in 2022.
The two ideologically-opposed governors have sparred on the national stage.
DeSantis has spoken in Illinois before. He gave a private speech to the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police in suburban Elmhurst in February. LaHood also attended DeSantis' speech then. He told conservative radio host Dan Proft at the time that he was "jealous" Illinois doesn't have a governor like DeSantis.
Former vice president Mike Pence was the speaker at last year's Peoria-Tazewell Lincoln Day Dinner. He's also weighing a run for president.