5 Takeaways From the DeSantis 2024 Campaign Launch Night

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis paid a price on the opening night of his campaign for gambling on a new launch format, with the Twitter chatroom crashing after some 600,000 listeners attempted to tune in.

But after tech issues were resolved, the conversation on Twitter Spaces—with billionaire Elon Musk and investor David Sacks—quickly turned to policy, both foreign and domestic.

During the Spaces chat, a subsequent interview on Fox News, and a call with reporters from The Epoch Times and other media, the governor and now GOP presidential candidate introduced his approach to China, how he would handle the FBI, and addressed a wide range of issues, including his approach to abortion laws and his ongoing conflict with Disney.

Launch Rocked by Tech Issues

The bold choice to launch his campaign on Twitter backfired briefly but spectacularly on May 24, when Twitter CEO Elon Musk tried and failed repeatedly to launch the Space chatroom from his account. Issues with audio and other bugs persisted with some 600,000 Twitter users flooding into the chatroom.

“It seems we broke the internet with so much excitement,” the Team DeSantis Twitter page posted, encouraging voters to donate “while you’re waiting.” The campaign raised more than $1 million on its first night.

Twenty minutes later, Sacks launched the space from his account and the hour-long conversation kicked off. Musk and Sacks joked that they “broke” the internet, with Musk explaining that the size of his following had caused “scaling issues.”

The second space paired down significantly, with around 300,000 listeners without further issues.

The brief tech fiasco drew mockery from both the right and left, with former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden firing off messages ridiculing DeSantis.

“The DeSanctus TWITTER launch is a DISASTER! His whole campaign will be a disaster,” Trump wrote on his social media platform, Truth Social.

Biden, in turn, posted a video featuring what sounded like the distorted audio from the false start on Twitter.

Epoch Times Photo

Near the end of the conversation, Sacks said that while they “started with some technical issues because of the sheer scale of and unprecedented nature of what we’re doing,” it was “not how you start, it’s how you finish, and I think this finished really strong.”

According to Twitter, a total of 1.4 million listeners tuned into the conversation. After the event, Sacks wrote on Twitter that it “was by far the biggest room ever held on social media.”

“Twitter performed great after some initial scaling challenges. Thanks Twitter Team for adapting so quickly to make history!”

Despite the ridicule, DeSantis’s camp latched on to the positive fact that the technical problems appeared to be caused by the number of listeners attempting to tune in to DeSantis’ announcement.

“Just got off the phone with @elonmusk + @DavidSacks – heard behind the scenes details from Twitter as they handled the nearly 1 million people trying to get into the Spaces room,” DeSantis campaign manager Generra Peck wrote on Twitter following the interview.

“They had more than 700k in the room to start with hundreds of thousands trying to get in … had to relocate the room.”

Bryan Griffin, DeSantis’ press secretary, echoed that optimism, noting: “There was so much enthusiasm for Governor DeSantis’ vision for our Great American Comeback that he literally busted up the internet. Washington is next. $1 million raised online in one hour … and counting!”

Ivan PentchoukovJoseph LordSamantha FlomSavannah Hulsey Pointer and Dan Berger