With a tight gubernatorial race shaping up in Florida, the Republican candidate for the office, Ron DeSantis, announced on Monday that he will resign from Congress effective immediately, reports NBC News.
With the election less than two months away and polls showing a tight race with Democrat Andrew Gillum leading on the average of polls with 48.5 percent of the vote, according to Real Clear Politics, putting DeSantis up against the ropes, the GOP candidate needs to put in all his effort to get over the line.
DeSantis was already required to leave office at the end of his term, with Florida law forbidding a candidate from running for two offices, meaning his gubernatorial campaign took him out of the race for Florida’s sixth district.
DeSantis tendered his resignation to House Speaker Paul Ryan, who confirmed that the resignation was effective immediately. In his letter, DeSantis states that the main reason for his departure is that he will miss too many sitting days.
“As the Republican nominee for Governor of Florida, it is clear to me that I will likely miss the vast majority of our remaining session days for this Congress. Under these circumstances, it would be inappropriate for me to accept a salary.”
Republican US Representative Ron DeSantis has resigned from his seat in Florida's 6th Congressional District to focus on his Gubernatorial run, bringing the balance of the House back to 236-193 in favor of the GOP with 6 vacancies pic.twitter.com/kg4tTWWFVE— USA Election Watch (@electionwatchus) September 10, 2018
That would only be a total of 15 days before the election but could be as soon as September 30th with even fewer days possible should a shutdown not be avoided by that date.
While the law in Florida which required DeSantis to not seek a second term was billed by Florida lawmakers as “Resign to Run,” DeSantis was allowed to hold his congressional seat and run for governor, yet the law restricts DeSantis from running for both offices, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
That law does have a loophole which will affect the current governor of Florida, Rick Scott, who is running for a Senate seat. Under the law, an individual cannot hold a federal office and a state office, and with new senators being seated on January 3, Scott would have to resign as governor if not for the loophole which says a resignation is not necessary if both offices are decided in the same election. That allows Scott to decide if he wants to resign early, or serve out his term on January 8 and take his Senate seat on January 9.
DeSantis’ congressional term ends before he would be sworn in as governor, meaning the law didn’t require the resignation. With an election about to be held for the congressional seat, Florida’s sixth will remain vacant until the new year when the winner of the election will take over.
DeSantis had been in the middle of his second term, having first been elected in 2013. This is his first time as an elected politician after serving in the military.