Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis stepping away from presidential campaign trail to address Idalia
TAMPA BAY, Fla. (CBS19 NEWS) -- As Hurricane Idalia spins toward Florida's Gulf Coast, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' presidential ambitions are under the spotlight as he puts his campaign on hold to manage the crisis at home.
"It's very much a reasonable excuse," said Kyle Kondik with the UVA Center for Politics.
According to the National Weather Service, Hurricane Idalia will likely be an "unprecedented event" for many locations in the Florida Big Bend. The agency says no major hurricanes have ever been recorded moving through this area.
"The weather is going to get nastier and nastier. If you are in an evacuation zone and you have been directed to evacuate, now is the time to do it," said DeSantis.
Kondik says an event like this always had the potential to happen during DeSantis' presidential campaign.
"It's not necessarily a surprise that this is something this governor has to deal with," he said.
Although the governor is taking time off his campaign, Kondik says his response to the storm could make up for it.
"If the public judges him to have done a good job, it could be politically helpful for them within their own state," he said.
His colleague, Dr. Carah Ong Whaley, agrees.
"Presidents are expected to respond when natural disasters, when crises, when tragedies occur. The opportunity to observe how Governor DeSantis is responding to a hurricane is actually a better test of skills that he will bring to the office of the president and what kind of skills he brings to governing than any campaign stunt speech, any social media post, any other campaign tactic might provide," she says.
Instead, she says, his team should be continuing campaign efforts.
"It would not be wise to worry about the campaign because that is going to show that he is not serious about governing," she says.
DeSantis declared a state of emergency in 49 counties and has mobilized more than 5,000 National Guard members. According to CNN, it is not clear when DeSantis will return to the campaign trail.