Casey DeSantis, Ron’s key asset to winning the White House
She is the wife of Ron DeSantis, the mother of his children, and is a great asset in diminishing his reputation as a cold man. But Casey DeSantis is above all his first political advisor, which makes him essential in his campaign for the Republican nomination.
His talents will be invaluable to the governor of Florida, who is coming out of a candidacy announcement weakened by serious technical problems.
Never shying away from Ron DeSantis during important events, this 42-year-old former journalist is equally at ease at the microphone in front of voters.
After Hurricane Ian hit her state last year, Casey DeSantis has been raising money for victims and going into the field to offer her empathy — exactly what her critics say her husband is lacking.
If the ultra-conservative policies he pursued in Florida are well known, his personality remains a mystery.
“I’m always asked: +Ron DeSantis+ who is this?”, she says in a video released for the Republican re-election campaign in 2022.
A loving father to his three young children Madison, Mason and Mamie, and a dithyrambic portrait of her when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2021 – she has been in remission for more than a year.
“He fought for me when I didn’t have the strength to fight. That’s Ron DeSantis,” Casey DeSantis concluded, his voice trembling.
– Values and Ethics –
This caring husband image is essential for Republicans.
In Sioux Center, a small Iowa town where Ron DeSantis is in Operation Seduction in mid-May, residents say they appreciate this “good dad” side to “Christian precepts.”
His personal life “shows he has good values”, approves Chantel Deroy, 39, who holds her daughter by the hand.
“In my eyes, all of this gives him a head start on Trump,” Craig Hofteiser, 47, told AFP.
At Walkout, Casey DeSantis is almost as successful as her husband. One of the participants also proudly holds an autographed portrait of him in his hand.
That same day, when the couple participates in a question-and-answer session, Ron DeSantis, true to his image, prefers to talk about statistics and laws rather than share personal anecdotes.
So it’s up to Casey DeSantis to temper her husband’s seriousness with a few human touches.
“When he comes home, don’t think for a second that he’s going straight to bed. I’m giving him three little kids, and I’m going to bed,” she said to laughter from the audience.
– Weddings on Disney –
But Casey DeSantis’ role isn’t just that of a sympathetic sidekick.
If her elegant attire draws comparisons to former first ladies Jackie Kennedy – or Melania Trump – her political influence will bring her closer to Hillary Clinton.
“She is not only his closest, smartest adviser, but also his secret weapon,” Jared Moskovitz, a former veteran of the DeSantis administration who is now elected a Democrat, told the New York Times.
Casey DeSantis, as conservative as her husband, is even nicknamed “co-governor”, so involved in every decision she makes. According to some observers, there is a danger of suffocation of other allies.
She specifically gives advice on his communications, drawing on his experience as a presenter for local channels, a job he leaves when Ron DeSantis’ political career takes off.
Born in Ohio in 1980, this equestrian enthusiast, an economics graduate, was also a journalist specializing in golf, one of her other passions.
The Christian devout couple also met while refining their swings, before getting married at the Disney World amusement park in Florida in 2009. Ironically, the governor is now engaged in a showdown with Mickey’s firm, which is opposed to policies deemed homophobic.
Will Florida’s “First Lady” Keep Her Suitcase in the White House? Her husband is still far from it, but if he succeeds, Casey DeSantis will have something to do with it, according to many observers.
Ron DeSantis himself seems to be aware of this. In his latest book, he says that meeting Casey was “the greatest privilege of (his) life”.