What is being called the largest-ever gathering at the annual Pennsylvania Leadership Conference (PLC) in its 34-year-history is preparing to welcome Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Saturday.
"We have 700 at dinner tonight," said R.J. Harris, master of ceremonies at the PLC's Friday dinner featuring former President Donald Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, "and we will have 800 signed up to hear Gov. DeSantis tomorrow afternoon."
In addition, Harris told Newsmax, more than 63 reporters have requested credentials for the Republican governor's speech Saturday afternoon.
According to longtime PLC organizer Lowman Henry, the audience and press coverage are the largest since the annual conclave of Keystone State conservatives began in 1989.
Much of the crowd is clearly the result of DeSantis' almost-certain candidacy for the Republican nomination for president. The governor, who usually places second to Trump in presidential polls of Republicans nationwide, is expected to make his candidacy official in the fall.
But the indictment of Trump by a Manhattan grand jury Thursday is also a likely reason for the increased interest in the Floridian and what he has to say about the latest developments.
While Trump has branded DeSantis as ungrateful for challenging him for the presidential nod in '24 after he helped him become governor in 2018, DeSantis has yet to counterattack with any invective against the 45th president.
Former Rep. Keith Rothfus, R-Pa., a close friend of DeSantis and godfather to one of the governor's children, told us, "Ron already has a lot of support throughout Pennsylvania, and you'll see it Saturday."
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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