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What DeSantis Told California Republicans Gathered in Coalinga



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Harris Ranch is at the crossroads of California, in a literal sense. Located in Coalinga off of Interstate 5, it is the midpoint between the Bay Area and southern California.

It’s where families take a break on long road trips, often getting a relatively cheap barbecue bite or a more relaxed (and expensive) steak meal at the restaurant.

Most of the travelers during the Monday lunch rush seemed oblivious to one special guest — the man who could be the next president, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The Republican snuck in and out of the Coalinga landmark undetected by the public nor the media, by design. He flew in and out of the nearby Coalinga airport, ushered to the back loading docks by unmarked Fresno County Sheriff’s vehicles.

The Central Valley lunch stop for 60 donors — paying $3,300 — was in between a breakfast event in Sacramento, and an evening in southern California.

The only indication that something special was going on was a “private event” sign. Most of the questions for the security guard related to the location of the restrooms.

A “private event” sign was the indication something special was happening at Harris Ranch, the visit of Gov. Ron DeSantis. (GV Wire/David Taub)

The DeSantis campaign opted not to make the man who has political battles on three fronts — President Joe Biden, former president and Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, and California Gov. Gavin Newsom — available to the media with the exception of an interview with the San Joaquin Valley Sun.

Biden, joined by Newsom, campaigned in northern California during the same time DeSantis was asking for money in Coalinga. Biden also held fundraisers. According to media reports, Biden did have a brief comment about DeSantis.

Asked about the DeSantis appearance in Sacramento, where he allegedly sent immigrants, Biden replied, “It’s hard to comment on things like that.”

As DeSantis started his California trip, his campaign released a video, criticizing California’s policies.

What Did DeSantis Say?

Michael Maher is running for Congress in 2024 against incumbent Democrat Jim Costa. Maher lost to Costa in 2022.

“(DeSantis) spoke on what he has delivered for the people of Florida and the many Californians who have moved out to his state during his time as governor, from environmental to infrastructure,” Maher said, describing the governor’s speech.

Reports indicate that there are slightly more Californians moving to Florida than the other way around.

DeSantis shared stories of building back after hurricane damage, to improving water quality.

“Nationally, DeSantis shared clear and pragmatic plans on how to take charge of the out of control federal bureaucracy, only worsening under Biden, and getting government back to working for the people instead of against them,” Maher said.

The Florida governor also talked about global supply chain problems and China, and “how to make life better for the people here in the United States,” Maher said.

Others reported that DeSantis said Trump’s tariffs were “not effective.”

The Florida governor also talked about the success of Florida’s education system; combatting fentanyl, criticizing Trump and Biden; and the success of Florida’s economy.

Hosted by Spencer and Harris

John Harris, the rancher and entrepreneur, hosted the DeSantis event at his eponymous resort, along with Fresno developer Richard F. Spencer.

Harris was unable to attend, but Spencer did grant a rare media interview with GV Wire.

“This stopped short of advocacy, and it’s mostly meant to be, exposure. So we think that this guy is a real good guy and and and probably would make a real good president,” Spencer said.

Spencer also praised other Republican presidential candidates Tim Scott and Nikki Haley. Harris representatives indicated more candidates could be invited in the future.

Where does Spencer stand in Trump vs. DeSantis?

“I think Trump did a lot of really good things for us before he did some not-so-good things for us, us being conservative Republicans. I would personally be delighted if he changed his mind … and didn’t run. But I doubt very much that that’s going to happen,” Spencer said.

The invitation sent to contributors for Ron DeSantis’ stop in Coalinga.

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email