April 16, 2024

Democrats on Monday released 500 pages of opposition research as a preemptive strike on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ 2024 presidential campaign.

Why it matters: The extensively researched effort is the latest sign that Democrats view DeSantis as a candidate worth taking down before his anticipated campaign takes off.

Details: American Bridge 21st Century, one of the largest tracking and research groups in progressive politics, compiled the trove — released as a website — after spending the last year gathering data on DeSantis to brand him as a “MAGA extremist.”

  • American Bridge launched the Trump Research Book in 2020 — a similarly comprehensive account of former President Trump’s record and controversies.

Zoom in: Democrats are hoping to convince voters that DeSantis is “caught up in culture wars, unfit for office and utterly unprepared for the public pressure that comes with a contentious Republican presidential primary,” Pat Dennis, the group’s president, said in a statement.

  • The website is broken down into sections that highlight DeSantis’ record on various issues, like abortion, election denialism, crime, Ukraine and the economy.

The backdrop: Trump has continued to attack DeSantis as he’s maintained a second-place position in the 2024 polling thus far.

  • DeSantis has insisted that his focus will be on running against President Biden — not Trump.

  • But he has started criticizing the former president over his alleged affair with adult film star Stormy Daniels, which is related to his being indicted by a grand jury in New York, and his leadership style.
  • “At the end of the day as a leader, you really want to look to people like our Founding Fathers,” DeSantis told Piers Morgan in an interview last month.
  • “[I]t’s not saying that you don’t ever make a mistake in your personal life, but I think, what type of character are you bringing?” he continued.