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Ron DeSantis: A Conservative Who Can Impact Florida for Years to Come

August 6, 2013 - 6:00pm

Theres a conservative star rising in Florida by the name of Ron DeSantis. Despite being in only his first months in Congress, DeSantis has shown an ability to generate attention, winning national attention for leading the fight to remove Eric Holder and kicking off efforts to amend the Constitution to prevent Congress from making any law which exempts its own members.

DeSantis has an impressive background. Originally from Jacksonville, he went to Yale as a undergrad before studying law at Harvard. He joined the Navy, serving in the JAG Corps and with the SEALs. After marrying Jacksonville television personality Casey Black, DeSantis left the service in 2010 and returned home and won an open congressional seat in 2012, destroying an impressive field of Republican primary opponents and routing Democrat Heather Beaven in the process. DeSantis showed a knack for getting the endorsements of prominent Republicans at both the state and national levels.

Despite being a freshman, DeSantis has used his legal background to gain some prominence on the Judiciary Committee. Hes been something of a regular on Fox News in recent months, something most congressional freshmen cant claim. In his various attacks on Holder and the Obama administration, DeSantis has shown a knack for going on the offensive while still winning points with Republicans.

Since his district ranges from outside of Jacksonville to Daytona Beach, DeSantis has a foot in two different parts of the state. This could give him an excellent launching pad for future bids for statewide office.

Only 33, DeSantis has to be included in future political calculations. If Marco Rubio ends up on the national ticket in 2016, his Senate seat would be open and its possible that DeSantis could run for it, though that seems a little early. DeSantis could have a second opportunity to move to the Senate in 2018 when Bill Nelsons term expires. DeSantis could challenge Nelson but he could be looking at an open seat since the incumbent will turn 76 that year.

Its still early in his political career but DeSantis has shown little interest in whats happening in Tallahassee. A bid for Florida attorney general in 2018 is not out of the question, especially if DeSantis feels he needs to raise his statewide profile and Nelson seeks another term. DeSantis has time on his side, to be sure, but his whole career as a politician and a lawyer seems more focused on federal matters than state.

DeSantis could also rise up the ranks in the House. He comes from a safe Republican district and he could spend years rising in Congress. So far, DeSantis has been able to appeal to conservatives, the tea party movement and the GOP leadership which could help him if he spends numerous terms in the House.

While hes only been in the House for barely seven months, DeSantis is turning out to be a gifted politician and a strong conservative. Wherever his path takes him, DeSantis appears headed to being a major political player in Florida for decades to come.

Tallahassee political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis exclusively for Sunshine State News.

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