ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' highly anticipated presidential announcement on Twitter did not launch as originally planned, with the audio feed cutting out or failing to load at times on the social media site.
CEO Elon Musk was heard commenting about the thousands of users who had logged on at 6 p.m. before the Twitter Spaces feed shut down.
About 25 minutes later with more than 170,000 listeners, it resumed with DeSantis at the mic: "I am running for president of the United States to lead our great American comeback," DeSantis said. "We must restore sanity to our nation."
Earlier in the day, the governor completed the appropriate paperwork with the Federal Election Commission, the website shows, and his political team confirmed to CBS News the filing was legitimate.
A campaign video tweeted by DeSantis directly subjects him to attacks and criticisms from Republican frontrunner and former President Donald Trump, who picked the governor out of relative obscurity in the summer of 2018 when he ran for Florida's highest office.
Now, the 44-year-old Navy commander and Iraq War veteran has his sight set on the White House.
"We need the courage to lead and the strength to win," DeSantis said in the video before speaking with Musk. "I’m Ron DeSantis, and I’m running for president to lead our great American comeback."
DeSantis is a native Floridian born in Jacksonville. He attended Dunedin High School before attending Yale University as an undergraduate and earning a degree from Harvard Law School, according to his campaign website.
While at Harvard, he also earned a commission in the U.S. Navy as a JAG officer. During his active-duty service, he reportedly was deployed to Iraq and earned the Bronze Star Medal for Meritorious Service and the Iraq Campaign Medal.
Following his military service, he served as a federal prosecutor before being elected to Congress in 2012. He beat Democrat Andrew Gillum five years ago by 32,436 votes out of more than 8.2 million cast — a margin so narrow that it required a recount.
DeSantis is married to Casey DeSantis, a former Jacksonville TV host, and the couple together have two daughters, Madison and Mamie, and a son, Mason.
DeSantis' action ends months of speculation that the Republican governor, who recently wrote a book on "Florida’s Blueprint for America’s Revival," will be taking his political ambitions nationally. He enters a growing field as the likely top competitor to Trump in the race for the 2024 GOP nomination.
While DeSantis has offered some veiled criticism of the former president in recent weeks, his political team is no longer shying away from using his name. Reports show a Trump-affiliated Super PAC has spent $15 million in anti-DeSantis ads thus far, to which Team DeSantis’ press secretary Bryan Griffin responded, in part "Ron DeSantis presents the greatest threat to Donald Trump."
Trump overwhelmingly appears to be voters' top candidate for the Republican ticket, trouncing DeSantis by 37 points — Trump at 56 percent with DeSantis at 19 percent, according to the latest RealClearPolitics polling average.
Recent polling showing Trump with a significant lead over DeSantis indicates the governor needs to work toward swaying those who back the former president but by walking a tight line that does not alienate them.
Several news outlets, including The New York Times, reports that following DeSantis' announcement, the governor and his team will hold a flurry of events in states whose primary voters will select their party's nominee.
10 Tampa Bay's Claire Farrow contributed to this report.