Florida First Lady Kathy DeSantis is also the governor’s chief advisor

During a recent appearance in South Carolina, Ron DeSantis touted his state’s economic and education policies and blasted a string of ideological opponents, with his wife sitting on stage In an armchair next to him, reflecting on her role as Florida’s first lady.

“I don’t want to be the proverbial houseplant,” says Casey DeSantis.

No one — fans, skeptics, or critics — is going to blame her for that.

Ms. DeSantis, 42, is widely regarded as perhaps Mr. DeSantis’ most important adviser.At the governor’s mansion, she media strategy advice and help reviewers. She tells some more about him striking advertise and has undertaken a wide range of projects on issues such as Mental Health, disaster relief and cancer, survived use it yourself.

Now, as Mr. DeSantis enters the presidential race, those who know Ms. DeSantis or have encountered her in the early stages of the campaign expect her to play a vital role in his most important campaign to date. role, seeking to shape perceptions of the campaign, build relationships with party stakeholders, and shed light on the personal side of her hard-charging husband, who sometimes struggle connect.

“Your first lady is more supportive, and they’re not the ones who hang around in the area,” said Steven Wright, the Republican chairman of Dorchester County, South Carolina. “And then you have a similar situation with Casey DeSantis first lady. “

In recent weeks, she Spray on gas station pizza in Iowa and emphasizes her personal relationships to South Carolina, South Carolina’s first primary state (she attended the College of Charleston, where she competed on the equestrian team).

She met with local Republican officials and gave a public glimpse into family life as a mother of three.When Mr. DeSantis spoke at a Republican dinner in Ohio last month, Ms. DeSantis also joined the travelswinging through her Hometown, Troy, Ohiowhere the family meets the mayor.

“She showed the human side of the governor and his personal side,” Mr Wright said.

She and Mr. DeSantis recently hosted Bob Vander Plaats, an influential social conservative in Iowa, Lunch at the Governor’s Mansion.

“They could free her up to go and represent the governor on different campaigns that he couldn’t go to,” Mr. Vanderplatz said, adding that she had “the ability to keep her composure in front of a crowd.” They ate sesame seeds, he recalled Vegetable spring salad, prosciutto rolled scallops with green beans and strawberry fruit salad for dessert.

Mr. DeSantis met then-local news reporter Jill Casey Black at a practice range in Florida, which he writes about in his recent book, “The Courage to Be Free.”they are Getting Married at Walt Disney WorldYears before Mr. DeSantis war with disney(“Casey’s family could be called a family of Disney fanatics,” he wrote.)

Casey DeSantis builds her career tv personality In Florida, though that background didn’t stop her from echoing Mr. DeSantis, attacking “wake up corporate media

“She is acutely aware of public-facing events, news cycles, optics,” said Stephen Lawson, who served as spokesman for Mr. DeSantis during the 2018 gubernatorial campaign. “Who he is, where he’s from, his story revolves around her, and I think she’s going to continue to play a pivotal role in how that unfolds.”

“She was his main sounding board,” he added.

In that 2018 game, she tells about an ad It highlighted Mr. DeSantis’ loyalty to President Donald J. Trump, showing him encouraging his young children to “build the wall” with building blocks.

Last year, she recorded a song Emotions go straight to the cameraher voice trembled as she described how her husband helped her through cancer.

she also promoted a video This makes his political rise divinely inspired.

Ms. DeSantis also have related to political dramaand some have questioned the extent of her investment in office, wondering whether she has too much influence in the governor’s reclusive inner circle.

“She got powers that she didn’t have,” said a man named Mac Stipanovich. republicans– turn to independence who is in charge A longtime Florida strategist and lobbyist, though he says he’s sharing his impressions rather than first-hand knowledge. “Where does this woman’s strategic political genius come from?”

“People always question, who is the closest thing to Ron, who is the one who can hear his ears?” added Nikki Fried, now chairwoman of the Florida Democratic Party and one former agriculture commissioner WHO failed to run He ran for governor in the Democratic primary last year. The only name that came back, she said, “was Kathy’s.”

Lindsey Curnutte, a spokeswoman for the DeSantis team, did not respond to a request for comment.

But Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Florida, who served as Florida emergency management director with the DeSantises, said he found Ms. DeSantis a welcome idea. , and her “door is always open”.

Mr Moskowitz, who is backing President Biden’s re-election bid, said: “The first lady has a significant background in communications, and to walk into a room, it’s really fascinating.”

Politicians have long wrestled with the complex issues of family members involved in campaigns or administrations, including Bill and Hillary Clinton and Vice President Kamala Harris, whose sister She was a key adviser during her presidential primary campaign.

In New York City, Chirlane McCray was her closest advisor to her husband, Bill de Blasio, as he run for mayor and then in his time exist City Hallan arrangement sometimes cause controversy.

In an interview, Mr. de Blasio – a Democrat who “strongly” supported Mr. Biden – defended the political power couple’s art, saying “when it feels natural, it’s irreplaceable.” .”

“You need someone who understands your goals, your motivations, what you can and can’t handle, all of which are included in a good mate,” Mr. de Blasio said.

But he acknowledged that spousal counselors can also be “overly informed” depending on the couple’s circumstances.

“There’s a huge tradition of spouses being very protective and defensive of their loved ones in the office,” he said. “Sometimes that leads to blindness or a knee-jerk reaction, or a sense of revenge that doesn’t always work.”

“It can be a beautiful model, or it can be a powerful model,” he added, “or it can really backfire.”

Nicholas Nehamas Contribution report. Kirsten Noyce contributed research.

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