MIDLAND, Mich. (WLNS) – Republican Governor Ron DeSantis touted his policy victories in Florida during stops in Midland and Hillsdale.

His time in Michigan was among the appearances he’s made in politically important states.

DeSantis called on the crowd to carry the responsibility to uphold what he called “American values.”

A University of Michigan debate expert said the way DeSantis is going about his state tour has the markings of a campaign trip.

After a Republican fundraiser in Midland, DeSantis, took the stage at Hillsdale College to highlight where he stands on certain policies, from pushing back on the way the federal government handled the COVID-19 pandemic to changing education standards on civics and history, to cracking down on school curriculums that include diversity, equity and inclusion.

He said Florida has gone from a swing state to a red state because of his administration’s work across multiple levels of government.

Aaron Kall is the director of debate at the University of Michigan. He said stops in key political states like Michigan and Iowa give the impression of what he called a “shadow campaign”.

Kall said focusing on his accomplishments gave DeSantis a base to promote these policies on a larger scale.

“This speech was to really talk about the Florida model and what he’s done for Florida and what it could do for not just Michigan but all around the country,” said Kall.

Kalls said DeSantis’ choice of venues like a Republican fundraiser and a conservative college shed light on the balance of power in Michigan, as Democrats control both sides of the state capitol and the governor’s office.

“We see people like Bill Schuette’s son and others involved in the earlier event. Know the relationships he’s trying to build, endorsements he’s trying to get,” he said. “Those are things that are very important things for the early primaries and caucuses.”

DeSantis has faced some pushback to his visits around the state.

He was greeted by both supporters and protesters in Midland and groups like Progress Michigan have gone on the record bashing the conservative leader’s policies.