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Tomato, Tomahto; Dee-Santis, Deh-Santis

If a candidate fails to win consensus about his own name, can he do it as governor?
Ron DeSantis teaches his toddler daughter, Madison, to "build the wall" | YouTube screen grab
Ron DeSantis teaches his toddler daughter, Madison, to "build the wall" | YouTube screen grab
Published Sep. 20, 2018
Updated Sep. 20, 2018

Floridians are just getting to know Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis – his agenda, his style, his story. Even if he becomes Florida's 46th governor, however, we may never figure out the biggest mystery of all:

How the heck do you pronounce his name?

Seems straight forward. Just watch him speaking to the camera  in a recent TV ad. "I'm Ron Dee-Santis…"

At Dunedin High everybody called him Dee. Case closed, right?

Well, check out Casey DeSantis, in that semi-famous Trump adoration ad featuring Dee teaching his toddler daughter to build a wall and dressing his infant son in a Trump onesie.

"Everyone knows my husband Ron Deh-Santis is endorsed by President Trump…"

We asked DeSantis campaign Communications Director Stephen Lawson to straighten out the Dee/Deh  conundrum. It had become the source of debate in our newsroom.

"It's also been a little controversial for us on the campaign trail," Lawson confessed. "He uses Dee-Santis."

But Casey Dee-Santis, seems to use Deh-Santis, right?

Pause.

"Yes," Lawson allowed.  And added, "He prefers Dee-Santis."

Whoa. So this is a giant source of  great friction between Mr. Dee-Santis and Mrs. Deh-Santis, then?

"I wouldn't go that far," Lawson deadpanned.

The mystery lingers.

The Andrew Gil-LUM campaign declined to comment.