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News / Politics

DeSantis is in a car accident on his way to Tennessee presidential campaign events but isn’t injured

By Associated Press
Published: July 25, 2023, 7:56am

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was involved in a multi-car accident on Tuesday in Tennessee but was uninjured as he traveled in a motorcade to a campaign stop for his 2024 presidential bid.

The chain reaction crash happened before 8:15 a.m. when traffic slowed on Interstate 75 in Chattanooga, causing four cars in the motorcade to hit one another, police said. All the vehicles involved in the crash were government vehicles taking DeSantis and his team to his scheduled event, police said.

The Republican White House hopeful was not hurt, according to Chattanooga police, Florida law enforcement protecting the governor and DeSantis campaign spokesperson Bryan Griffin. DeSantis continued on to the campaign event. A female staff member who suffered a minor injury in the crash was treated at the event, police said.

The governor’s staff and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s agents, who are required by Florida law to provide security for the governor and his immediate family, “all have been cleared with no significant injuries,” department spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger said. One of the department’s agents was driving the governor’s vehicle, she said.

Representatives for DeSantis’ campaign did not offer more details about the accident. A spokesperson for the Florida governor’s office deferred questions about the accident to the campaign.

DeSantis was scheduled to hold events throughout central and eastern Tennessee as he prioritizes Super Tuesday states in his campaigning. Super Tuesday, held on March 5 next year, is when the largest number of delegates are up for grabs of any day in the primary cycle.

Earlier this month, DeSantis addressed more than 1,800 attendees at a state GOP dinner in Nashville.

The Florida governor, who has trailed front-runner Donald Trump in the GOP presidential contest, was expected to be at a fundraiser at a private home in Chattanooga on Tuesday. Hosts for the fundraiser were to pay $10,000 per couple for the event, while co-hosts were paying $5,000 and other attendees were paying $2,000 each, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

DeSantis was expected to attend additional fundraisers on Tuesday in Knoxville and Franklin.

The Republican candidate has been attending a string of fundraisers lately as his campaign has faced some surprising financial pressures. He was in Utah over the weekend holding fundraisers and in New York last week for an event in the Hamptons.

Just two months after entering the race, DeSantis already has been cutting staff while facing new questions about his aggressive spending, his media strategy and his apparent willingness to brawl with any and all foes except for Trump, the one person he must defeat to claim the GOP’s 2024 presidential nomination.

“The DeSantis campaign is recalibrating. It’s clear it needs to,” said Republican strategist Terry Sullivan, who managed Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign. “But at the end of the day, they’re still better positioned than any other challenger to Donald Trump, times 10.”

DeSantis’ team has quietly expressed confidence for months that voters would eventually tire of Trump’s escalating legal troubles and personal baggage. But that baggage, playing out in the U.S. legal system just as the GOP primary intensifies, is leaving precious little oxygen for his rivals to break through. And Trump’s standing with Republican primary voters seems to be growing stronger with every new legal challenge.

Still, DeSantis’ team has raised a stunning $150 million for his presidential ambitions so far. The vast majority, $130 million, has gone to a super PAC run by allies who cannot legally coordinate with the campaign.

The DeSantis campaign itself raised more than $20 million in the first six weeks he was in the race, though recently released federal filings revealed that he and his team had burned through more than $8 million in a spending spree that included more than 100 paid staffers, a large security detail and luxury travel.

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This story has been corrected to show DeSantis was in Nashville earlier this month, not last week.

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