TAMPA, Fla. - When you're the richest man on the planet, it's easy to make headlines – and Elon Musk has shown a propensity for it. Whether it's for his cars, his rockets or his potential purchase of social media giant Twitter, Musk has become part businessman, part celebrity and part political magnet.
He's also been engaged in a public flirtation with Florida as of late, but his connections to the Sunshine State actually go back more than a decade, through donations he's made to political figures on both sides of the aisle. That's to say nothing of his usage of Florida as rocket-launch site for SpaceX.
More recently however, as in January of last year, Musk tweeted interest in bringing his Boring Company tunnels to the city of Miami for traffic relief.
This week, Musk's interest in Florida took another step when he was asked who he was leaning toward in 2024. The South-African born businessman responded with one name: DeSantis.
That prompted this response from the governor, who has not yet announced plans for a presidential run: "I’m focused on 2022, but with Elon Musk, what I would say is, you know I welcome support from African Americans. What can I say?" DeSantis said, eliciting laughter from the audience.
Florida officials took it further, pleading for Musk to bring one or more of his companies here.
"I don’t care if it's your Boring Company, SpaceX, Tesla – you name it, the state of Florida can host you better than any other state you’re currently in," said state CFO Jimmy Patronis.
So what's driving all this? Political expert Dr. Susan McManus believes she has the answer.
"It is all about business, and it’s all about winning," said McManus, Distinguished University Professor Emerita at the University of South Florida.
"He said he's neither Democrat nor Republican, but we know he's a shrewd businessman," she continued. "What he said about Desantis is, 'He's a winner.' But he's looking at Florida, the third-largest state still, and it's welcoming to business. End of story."
End of story for now – until the next tweet.