Ron DeSantis is very happy with himself

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Ron DeSantis is very happy with himself


He needs her. She has, some of her most trusted allies say, what he does not have. He sometimes handles the face-to-face “retail” part of politics with the grace and pace of this “Short Circuit” robot. Handshake, handshake, handshake. Smile, smile, smile. Image, image – do you want an image? The slightest chatter makes him play with his alliance. The ropes might as well be zip lines. He knows he has to do it, so he does it, but sometimes he just seems to want to find the fastest way to get back to the back of the SUV.

It’s not just voters and potential supporters. Donors complain that they too rarely hear from him just to chat between check cuts.

“It’s true,” one donor told me. “He’s less involved in donor maintenance than anyone I know at his level. I raised half a million dollars for him. It is difficult for me to phone him. Literally I have, you know, six senators and two governors that I can remember within 24 hours – no problem. And he doesn’t call you back – it will take two or three times.

Kent Stermon, on a short list of good DeSantis friends, reminded me of a fundraiser in St. Augustine last year when DeSantis was in Congress. “We’re getting there, and he gets in the corner with me, and there’s a long line of people waiting to say hello,” he said. But DeSantis stood there talking with Stermon about… baseball cards. Not just any baseball card. “The 1987 Topps baseball card game,” Stermon said, “and the fact that I felt like it was overproduced changed the value of baseball cards forever. And he went on for 15 minutes about it. Stermon could see people with deep pockets growing impatient. DeSantis didn’t seem to care.

A Florida Republican strategist said, “I don’t think he sees fundraising as a priority. “

He doesn’t. “I don’t just call people all the time. My opinion is that I’m just doing my job, ”DeSantis said in his office last summer. “If anyone wants to support me, it’s just work hard – do a good job.”

And it’s not just the donors. It’s… everyone.

People who have been with DeSantis in these SUVs or on flights on the state plane say he is loath to fill those hours (as many Poles do) with “call time”.

“They know the seven people to call when they’re in the car for the next 21 minutes,” said one donor who has spent quite a bit of time with DeSantis.

“What does DeSantis do instead?” I asked.

” It is … thought. »

“He’s sitting there and looking into space,” said a close associate.

“You’ll be in the car with Ron DeSantis, and he won’t tell you anything for an hour,” said this person. “He would prefer it to be that way.

Christmas parties at the governor’s mansion? A regular participant said: “He doesn’t look like he wants to be there. “

“If you’re that close to him, you’re going to have your feelings hurt every now and then,” Stermon told me. “But you learn it’s worth it.” He admitted it sounded “strange”. The people who know him best and are around him have the most difficulty explaining him. There is no mischief, they insist. It’s not that he … average. It’s just that he … can not. That’s not how he … wired. “I love my computer,” said the senior manager at DeSantis. “But I don’t go to my computer for a hug. “

It may be different, however, when his wife is there. “He’s better off with her,” said Gwen Graham, generally reluctant to say anything positive about DeSantis. “When she’s around he’s happier. He’s just more engaged.

“We all have responsibilities and weaknesses as human beings and one of the best ways to face your responsibilities is to find a partner in life who has them all as incredible strengths. And Casey DeSantis is one of the most empathetic, charming, charming human beings I know. She has a ‘Jackie O’ quality, ”Gaetz told me.

“She’s very smart, probably the most intuitive person I’ve ever met,” DeSantis told me last year. “Just with her television career, she understands introducing me in a speech – she understands how to do it. She’s not nervous at all, because she’s been doing it for years and years, in front of the camera.

And so now, after DeSantis had finished speaking at the lectern in front of the tents with the vaccines, the two walked over to the children pressed against the fence. “Nice to see you guys,” DeSantis said in that nasal voice. His wife followed him, being careful not to let her heels sink too deep into the dirt and grass. “I’m Casey,” she said gently to the group, “and this is Madison. The children gathered nearby, and took photo after photo, the governor shaking hand after hand.

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