Paypal co-founder and Republican megadonor Peter Thiel is worried Florida is quickly becoming California, a state that "can't even keep the power on," according to Gov. Ron DeSantis.
While speaking at the the National Conservatism conference last week, Thiel pointed to high real estate prices as an indicator Florida is in real danger of "becoming like California."
"The temptation on our side is always going be to just say we’re not California… We don’t like tech, we don’t like California, we don’t like the woke stuff," said Thiel at the first night of the conference.
“All of that’s true," he continued, "but it’s not a way we get back to broad-based growth that’s not just some kind of real-estate racket. We have all these different states where we’re trying different things, and I think DeSantis is probably the best in terms of offering a real alternative to California. But if we’re going to have a high-growth alternative, the test is, do the real estate prices come down? And the fact that real estate in Florida has melted up over the last two or three years is not evidence that you’re succeeding in building a better model than California. I worry that’s evidence you’re becoming like California.”
Thiel's comments come as Florida overwhelmingly leads the country in home price increases. A report from last month found Tampa saw a 35% increase in year-over-year prices in June, which was the highest in the U.S., followed by Miami, with a 33% jump.
Notably, the state is also dealing with a rapidly collapsing property insurance industry, with five carriers deemed insolvent since February, and thousands of policies a week pouring into the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp., which was created as an insurer of last resort.
Recently, DeSantis has been at the center of controversy after he duped nearly 50 migrants, mostly from Venezuela, to board planes in Texas and fly to Martha's Vineyard with the promise of jobs and shelter. The move is now being investigated as a criminal act and was heavily criticized, especially by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who used the opportunity to challenge the potential 2024 GOP presidential frontrunner to a debate.
"Hey [Gov. Ron DeSantis], clearly you’re struggling, distracted, and busy playing politics with people’s lives,” Newsom said in a tweet. "Since you have only one overriding need — attention — let’s take this up & debate. I’ll bring my hair gel. You bring your hairspray. Name the time before Election Day.”
Meanwhile, Thiel is busy investing $10 million in Trump-backed U.S. Senate candidates, as well as another $1.5 million in a conservative dating app that currently only allows straight users to the invite-only platform, which means he wouldn't be able to use it because he's gay.