Ron DeSantis 2024: His story, experience, and policies

Tallahassee, Florida - Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is running for president in 2024, but can he beat Republican front-runner Donald Trump and take back the White House for the party?

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is maintaining a strong second place spot in the Republican primaries, but does he have what it takes to be President?
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is maintaining a strong second place spot in the Republican primaries, but does he have what it takes to be President?  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

When DeSantis first announced he would be joining the 2024 race back in May, he was considered by many to be the only candidate that could successfully beat Trump.

Unlike his rival, DeSantis has a lengthy tenure in politics, and an arguably impressive resume for his time leading his state.

He has garnered a reputation of getting things done, as he generally sticks to his campaign promises, and actually fights to have legislation he believes in to get passed.

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Donald Trump Trump makes up for lost time with first campaign event since hush money trial began

By the time DeSantis officially entered the race, Trump was already leading by a huge margin, and even as he is facing 91 criminal charges, his poll numbers among Republican voters continues to rise.

But who exactly is Ron DeSantis, and what does he stand for? TAG24's candidate guide is here to answer all your questions.

Who is Ron DeSantis?

Ron DeSantis and his wife Casey DeSantis pose backstage at a rally in Boca Raton, Florida on November 4, 2018.
Ron DeSantis and his wife Casey DeSantis pose backstage at a rally in Boca Raton, Florida on November 4, 2018.  © IMAGO/ZUMA Wire

Ronald Dion DeSantis was born and raised in Florida. After graduating from high school, he went on to study at both Yale University and Harvard Law School.

From 2004 to 2010, DeSantis served in the US Navy, during which he did duty in Iraq, and was stationed at Guantánamo Bay.

Around this time, he also met his wife Casey who he went on to marry in 2009 in a chapel at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. The two would go on to share three children together.

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Marjorie Taylor Greene Marjorie Taylor Greene makes wild "space lasers" proposal for southern border

His post-naval years consisted of him co-founding the LSAT test-prep company LSAT Freedom, and working as a federal prosecutor until he went on to begin his career in politics.

In 2012, he was elected to represent Florida's 6th Congressional District in the US House of Representatives, and was re-elected in both 2014 and 2016. He briefly ran for the state's Senate seat in 2015, but dropped out after incumbent Marco Rubio announced his re-election bid.

By 2018, DeSantis decided to run for governor, which he just narrowly won in 2019, beating Democrat Andrew Gillum. He remains in the position as he runs for president of the US.

Why is Ron DeSantis running for president?

Gov. Ron DeSantis giving a campaign speech in New Hampshire on August 19, 2023.
Gov. Ron DeSantis giving a campaign speech in New Hampshire on August 19, 2023.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

In a statement on his website titled "Declaration of Economic Independence," DeSantis argues that "America is in a state of decline - militarily, culturally and economically."

He goes on to list countless grievances he has with the current state of the US, including high prices and weak economic growth, Covid lockdowns, and how China is continuing to grow more authoritarian and powerful.

Despite the mountain of issues, DeSantis believes he is the candidate to fix them, and regularly touts his tenure in Florida as proof.

"In Florida, we beat the elites, and we have shown the way forward to restore American economic freedom and opportunity," he says.

"Just as we fought for the well-being of Floridians, we will take that same spirit to DC to fight for Americans across the nation."

Ron DeSantis' policies ahead of the 2024 presidential campaign

Towards the beginning of his campaign, Ron DeSantis chose to tread lightly when attacking Trump, and instead has tried to depict himself as more far-right than his opponent.

DeSantis has led an aggressive attack against what he terms "woke ideology" in his state and has vowed to take that to the national level if he becomes president. While many Republican voters feel strongly that he is fighting for them and their interests, his policies are seen as some critics as being overtly authoritarian in nature and incredibly divisive.

Ron DeSantis' education policies

DeSantis has been a very vocal proponent for parental rights in education. He has led a fight against what he calls "woke" culture by passing legislation that bans educational books and courses on subjects that he deems offensive or wrong, including lessons on Black history and LGBTQ+ issues.

Most notably, in 2022 he gained national attention after he signed the Parental Rights in Education Act into law, which critics have dubbed the Don't Say Gay bill as it prohibits public schools from teaching lessons related to gender identity or sexual orientation from kindergarten to third grade.

Ron DeSantis' foreign policies

As a veteran, DeSantis has vowed that under his administration, "reviving" the military would be a priority.

"The military's mission is to defend America," he explains on his website. "Any distraction from our military's mission will be eliminated under my administration. My mission will be building and maintaining a military whose focus is to deter wars while having the capability and lethality to fight wars, and overwhelmingly win them if necessary."

"We will revive a culture that makes service members proud to serve and attracts Americans to enlist," he added.

Ron DeSantis' immigration policies

DeSantis is well known for his extreme border policy proposals and incendiary language against migrants and asylum seekers, including using deadly force against drug traffickers who attempt to cross the southern border. He

He has also helped Texas Governor Greg Abbott send migrants to Democrat-led major US cities in an attempt to push President Joe Biden to enforce stronger border policies.

Ron DeSantis' views on abortion

As a staunch conservative and Catholic, DeSantis has been very vocal about his pro-life position, and has enacted legislation in his state of Florida to reflect that.

In 2022, he signed a controversial 15-week abortion ban into law, and back in April, the state's Senate approved the passing of a six week ban.

What are Ron DeSantis' chances in the 2024 elections?

Gov. Ron DeSantis speaking about his book The Courage to Be Free during a rally in September 2023.
Gov. Ron DeSantis speaking about his book The Courage to Be Free during a rally in September 2023.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

As DeSantis battles it out with his fellow Republicans for the presidency in 2024, he faces two big challenges – he will have to surpass Trump in the polls, and beat his opponents before they do so.

So far, DeSantis has managed to maintain his second place spot behind Trump, but has failed to move ahead in polls, even dropping in some states.

His performance during the first Republican debate back in August was seen as average by most viewers, while some of his opponents, including Vivek Ramaswamy and Nikki Haley, had memorable performances that gained them a notable bump in most polls.

In the second debate that took place in September, DeSantis was seen being more critical of Trump than ever before, calling out promises the former president made before he won the White House in 2016 that were never fulfilled while he was in office.

Since the last debate, DeSantis has made it clear that he is ready to fight fire with fire. Most recently, he has been calling out Trump directly for refusing to participate in the party's debate events, and has challenged him to a private debate, just the two of them.

As Trump has a hold of over 50% in most Republican polls, DeSantis has a long battle ahead of him if he intends to win the party's nomination.

Cover photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

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