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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis visits Park City for fund-raising lunch

Ron DeSantis
Lynne Sladky/AP
/
AP
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in June, 2022.

DeSantis's Utah events Wednesday could pull in cash for a possible 2024 presidential bid.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s lunch location and details have been closely guarded. The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Bruce Hough, founder of Nutraceuticals, was an event host.

Nutraceuticals has an office in Park City’s Sun Peak neighborhood, and Hough is the father of Julianne and Derek Hough of Dancing With The Stars fame.

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, Real estate investor Scott Keller and Nomi Health founder Mark Newman were also named as hosts. Tickets to the Park City event reportedly cost $5,000 per person.

Hosts did not respond to KPCW's request for comment and information about the event.

The Summit County Sheriff’s Office and Park City Police Department said they had not been asked to provide security or other services for the event. Summit County Republican Party Chair Karen Ballash said she did not attend and didn’t know about the event.

Parkite Reed Galen is co-founder of The Lincoln Project, a national group of former Republicans who formed to defeat former President Donald Trump in his bid for a second term.

Galen said Wednesday that Park City is a natural stop for big-ticket political fundraising, and that despite DeSantis currently saying he's not planning to run in 2024, he's a likely candidate.

“It would be hard to imagine that he won't be," Galen said. "With like so many things in American politics. Donald Trump is the biggest X factor in his decision, but it would not surprise me if that every day that goes on, and you know every new story about DeSantis wooing Republicans, and every new story that shows Donald Trump knew more and more about January 6, that at some point, they're going to make a go-no go decision. And my guess is it'll be go.”

DeSantis has been making national headlines after he signed a Florida law in March nicknamed 'Don’t Say Gay' – it prohibits instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity before fourth grade. Critics have questioned how the legislation affects LGBTQ families and school employees.

His visit to Park City comes a day after all four Utah congressional representatives voted in favor of marriage equality protection legislation, to codify gay marriage rights nationally. That legislation was drafted in response to fears the Supreme Court might overturn its 2015 ruling protecting gay marriage. It received strong bipartisan support and is now headed to the Senate.

Michelle, who joined KPCW in 2021, arrived in Utah in 2018 by way of Massachusetts, where the skiing was icy and the mosquitoes formidable. A former daily newspaper reporter and editor (at the Visalia Times-Delta in CA) and columnist (at The Cohasset Mariner in MA), Michelle has been a writer and editor for decades. She holds a journalism degree from CSU Fresno and has worked as a journalist, freelance writer and web content creator, reporting extensively on education and youth along with general assignment and breaking news.