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Ron DeSantis, after Twitter event botched, launches 2024 bid in video pledging ‘American comeback’

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis announced his presidential campaign in a new video and press release, but his effort to jump into the race live on Twitter stalled when the platform’s server crashed.

Mr. DeSantis rolled out his bid in a video pledging a “great American comeback” and promising to “right the ship” foundering under President Joe Biden.

“Our border is a disaster. Crime infests our cities. The federal government makes it harder for families to make ends meet. And the president flounders,” Mr. DeSantis says in the new video. “But decline is a choice. Success is attainable. And freedom is worth fighting for.”

Mr. DeSantis was scheduled to speak live on Twitter Spaces alongside Elon Musk but the platform crashed after hundreds of thousands of listeners logged on.

“We’ve got so many people in here that I think we are kind of melting the servers,” Twitter Spaces co-host David Sacks said.

The Twitter event cut in and out, and Mr. Musk could be heard calling the crash “really unfortunate.”

Mr. DeSantis planned to appear later Wednesday on Fox News and on the conservative radio host Mark Levin’s talk show.

One of the youngest candidates in the race, Mr. DeSantis, 44, jumps in as the most formidable opponent to former President Donald Trump, who has been lashing out at his one-time protege in a bid to undercut his nascent candidacy.

Mr. DeSantis trails Mr. Trump by about 37 points nationally but the race is deemed to be tighter in critical early states. The DeSantis team has already saturated Iowa, where pro-life Christian voters dominate the caucuses and offer the Florida governor a chance to throw Mr. Trump off the top of the candidate heap.

More than a half dozen Republicans have jumped into the race but none, other than DeSantis and Trump, has earned more than low single digits among Republican voters.

The latest national polls show Mr. DeSantis with about 20% of the GOP vote, compared to more than 50% for Mr. Trump.

In his campaign video announcement, Mr. DeSantis touted his Florida record of rejecting COVID-19 vaccines and mandates, boosting law enforcement and ending “woke” educational policies in public schools.

“We held the line when freedom hung in the balance,” Mr. DeSantis says in the video.

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