SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Florida Governor and Republican presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis made a campaign stop in Utah on Friday.

He’s part of a large field vying for the party nomination.

“I’m excited to see all the Republican candidates that have jumped into the race. We have a deep bench of phenomenal Republican leaders who are diverse across our country. I think Ron DeSantis has the best chance at uniting our party right now. He has a proven record through COVID, especially on pushing back on government regulation and limiting individual freedom. And, I think he appeals to a broad spectrum of individuals,” said Representative Candice Pierucci (R), Riverton.   

Former Utah Democratic Party chair Jeff Merchant sees DeSantis as an extreme candidate.

“We are seeing what we’ve seen from the Republican Party the last several election cycles, which is this far-right, ultra, ultra conservative part of the party fighting against more normal parts of the party. And, the interesting thing is the more moderate, or frankly what I would call normal Republicans within the party, these candidates aren’t getting any say at all. We’re looking at Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis, and it’s odd to me that the Republican Party would choose, frankly, two big bullies to operate as their primary candidates,” said Merchant.

The two of them join us this week as part of the Inside Utah Politics panel discussion to weigh in on the race for the White House. They also discuss family policy in our state.