Some political wives are de facto politicians in their own right. Some are not. Think Hillary Clinton as compared to Laura Bush during their respective husbands' presidencies, for example. Casey DeSantis, the first lady of Florida, is Hillary Clinton's equal—or more. None other than Trump loyalist Roger Stone put a post on Telegram last fall asking "how much Ron DeSantis' wife Casey is like Lady Macbeth?" In case you don't remember much from high school English, in short, Lady Macbeth was not much like Laura Bush. In fact, she (Lady M., not Laura) prodded hubby to go kill the king so she could become queen.
One former staffer of the Florida governor said of him: "He's a leader who makes political decisions with the assistance of his wife, who was elected by nobody, who's blindly ambitious. And she sees ghosts in every corner." Another former staffer said: "She's more paranoid that he is." Yet another said: "He's a vindictive motherf**ker. She's twice that." Dan Eberhart, a DeSantis donor, said: "I worry that winning the gubernatorial race, winning the reelection, has made her overconfident in her ability to de facto run a presidential campaign." She is also one of a very small inner circle that has influence on her husband, so what she wants matters a lot.
Like her husband, Casey DeSantis has not been under the biggest microscope in the world yet. That will change instantly when Ron announces his presidential run. Casey went to the College of Charleston in South Carolina where she majored in economics and minored in French. She is an able horsewoman and competed on the equestrian team. She then became a reporter and later anchor for WJXT in Jacksonville. She and Ron were married in Disneyworld in 2009, where it rained on their reception. An ominous sign. Maybe that's why the governor is mad at Disney.
When Ron ran for Congress in 2012, he latched onto the tea party wave. But he wasn't good at all at retail politics. He needed her help dealing with people, and she was good at filling in the gaps. He will probably need her again this year and next. In 2012, she campaigned for him on an electric scooter, going house to house. His mailers had a photo of both of them. Former Jacksonville mayor John Delaney said that she was the one who impressed the voters, not the candidate. She has been his main adviser his whole political life. There is no reason to think that will change. She even got him to change the way he pronounced his name. Until she changed it, it was "dee-Santis." She wanted it "Deh-Santis."
After DeSantis was elected governor, she moved into the state Capitol, taking the office reserved for the chief of staff. She made jokes about baby-proofing the offices ("We are working on moving all of the breakables up about four feet") but she did a lot more than make jokes. She was involved in every major decision, from hiring staff to fundraising. And that includes the axing of Susie Wiles, one of the most respected political operatives in Florida politics. Wiles retaliated by joining Donald Trump's team.
In Oct. 2021, Casey was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was treated, recovered, and came back to work in the homestretch of her husband's reelection campaign. She was more active than ever, including making ads for him, including one that suggested his political ascent was inspired by God. She is involved in every aspect of his political life. Hillary was nothing compared to Casey. That's not going to change. (V)