Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), a three-term Republican member of Congress from Florida’s 6th congressional district, has resigned from his seat in order to focus all of his time on his hotly contested gubernatorial contest.
In a resignation letter, first obtained by Politico, sent to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) on Monday, DeSantis asked that his resignation be made retroactive to September 1 so that he does not receive any pay for the month.
He cited the fact that he “will likely miss the vast majority of our remaining sessions days for this Congress,” seeing as he is locked in a tight contest to decide who will be the next governor of Florida.
His opponent, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, upset the odds and won a crowded Democratic primary in late August to the excitement of progressives who saw his campaign—featuring the only non-millionaire in the race, and an endorsement of Medicare for All—as a major coup.
Out of the gate, DeSantis, who is a congressional ally of President Trump and earned his staunch support in part by being a frequent Fox News guest, recently stirred outrage by urging Florida voters not to “monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state.” The comment drew strong rebukes and was interpreted as being a racist dogwhistle, given how Gillum is black.
Polling since the primary has seen Gillum with a slight edge in what is sure to be a marquee matchup between two very different 39-year-olds seeking control of one of the country’s most important swing states.