A petition calling for the recall of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R- Florida) has garnered over 55,000 signatures, as of 1 PM Eastern Time Monday.
The petition, which was created last year, recently gained thousands of signatures within a matter of a few days, due to DeSantis’s handling of the worsening COVID-19 situation in Florida.
Citing his failures in administering unemployment benefits to state residents as well as his mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic in the state, the petition notes that DeSantis, alongside Sen. Rick Scott (R-Florida), “have made filing for unemployment in Florida impossible.” DeSantis also “waited until the last minute to issue a stay at home order which without a doubt caused the Coronavirus to spread much faster than necessary,” and the governor “went directly against [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines and allowed churches to still have large gatherings,” the petition adds.
“He is not fit to be our governor and needs to be removed as quickly as the constitution allows,” the petition concludes.
Unfortunately for the tens of thousands of signers of the petition, there is no legal way that DeSantis can be recalled from his current office, as Florida’s recall law is only applicable to local government officials.
However, with DeSantis up for re-election in 2022, the explosion in signatures in recent days casts a shadow over his prospects. It may also hurt his future ambitions — many have noted that DeSantis appears to be looking at a possible GOP nomination run for the presidency in 2024.
Recent polling numbers from a survey conducted for FloridaPolitics.com found that DeSantis is currently underwater when it comes to residents’ evaluation of his actions. Just 43.7 percent of Floridians say DeSantis is performing the functions of his office in an helpful way, while 48.5 percent of the state say they disapprove of his handling of his duties, the poll found.
The poll also suggested that the vast majority in the state disagree with DeSantis’s moves to bar local governments from enforcing rules on masking. Sixty-two percent of Florida residents, the poll found, believe schools should require masks, while less than 32 percent of respondents said they disagreed with such a requirement.
Over the past few weeks, Florida has become one of the hardest-hit states in the country regarding the coronavirus pandemic. The state is averaging around 21,000 new cases of COVID-19 each day, a rate that is higher than at any other time during the crisis that began in the spring of 2020. It’s hospitalization rates are also at record highs, and the rate of deaths being reported per day rivals other peaks seen in the state during the pandemic.