GOP Rep. Ron DeSantis jumps into race for Florida governor

Rep. Ron DeSantis
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- A Florida congressman who has the backing of President Donald Trump is jumping into a crowded contest for governor.

Rep. Ron DeSantis announced Friday that he will file the paperwork to make his campaign official.

He is entering the race two weeks after Trump tweeted that DeSantis is "a brilliant young leader" who "would make a GREAT governor."

The 39-year-old politician is a U.S. Navy veteran and a graduate of both Yale and Harvard. He has represented a northeast Florida congressional district since 2013.

DeSantis took a swipe at other candidates in his initial campaign announcement. He said he would "drain the swamp in Tallahassee that needs to be drained."

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham released the following statement:

"Ron DeSantis running as Trump's hand-picked candidate with the backing of out-of-state billionaires may endear him to the most partisan primary voters, but he is too extreme for Florida. While DeSantis has dedicated his time in Congress to protecting Trump from Mueller and becoming a Fox News star, we look forward to a vigorous debate on the real issues that affect Florida families most. Ron DeSantis's support for privatizing public schools, his denial of climate change and his votes to cut Medicare are just out of touch with Florida."

Governor Rick Scott is leaving office in early 2019 due to term limits.

Other Democrats in the running are Orlando-area businessman Chris King and Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine. The Republicans who have entered the governor's race are Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and State Senator Jack Latvala.