DeSantis Interrupts A Teenager Talking About His Mental Health During Campaign Stop In Early State

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This past Saturday, Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis stopped by a New Hampshire home builders association for an event where beer and socializing were promised — and despite organizers suddenly lowering ticket prices for nonmembers to just a dollar, only 30 people were present when the event got going an hour after its scheduled starting time.

That’s according to NBC News, which recently produced an insider account of some of the recent happenings at the DeSantis campaign, where the Florida governor is hoping to nab the Republican nomination for the 2024 presidential race. Months earlier, DeSantis was either right behind or ahead of Donald Trump in polling, and his general popularity seemed high enough to potentially create victory. Now, many have doubts, and the position held by DeSantis in polling has plummeted to leave the governor in the same range as candidates who observers already questioned could make much progress in their campaigns.

DeSantis has been conducting a series of these lower-profile gatherings in states including New Hampshire and Iowa, seeking to connect with local residents ahead of the early participation in the presidential nominating process that’s scheduled for those localities. Yet, he’s also ended up mired in questions about his general appeal with voters.

In one instance, he interrupted a teenager in Iowa who’d just described his struggles with major depressive disorder, quipping that Democratic Party politicians would still let him vote despite his age. (The teen had also mentioned his inability to vote because of his age.) DeSantis eventually addressed the teen’s questions about opportunities for military service for those with mental health conditions. It also remains unsubstantiated that any systematic voting by those ineligible has been seen in recent elections.

Also recently going viral was a clip of the governor remarking to a child at a fair in Iowa that the Icee that they were holding must be highly sugared. These sorts of concerns — essentially, connecting with people — are generally understood to figure highly in voters’ selection of a candidate. DeSantis has insisted he plans to participate in the first debate scheduled for the GOP primary. Trump, it seems, might not be joining, having recently remarked in dismissive terms about the event on Truth Social.