Gov. Ron DeSantis’ presidential bid didn’t come from out of nowhere: From his endorsement by then-President Donald Trump in the 2018 governor’s race to the way he steered Florida through the coronavirus pandemic to his legal fight with the Walt Disney Co., DeSantis has made national headlines for years.
Let’s see how closely you’ve been paying attention. Below is a 10-question quiz about DeSantis. The answers are right below the questions, so don’t scroll too far until you’re sure about your response.
1. Where was DeSantis raised?
Answer: That’s D, Dunedin. Kind of a trick question, though, given that DeSantis considers his childhood in two parts. While he says he was “geographically raised” in Dunedin, DeSantis disclosed in his latest memoir that he identified as a Midwesterner. “Culturally my upbringing reflected the working-class communities in western Pennsylvania and northeast Ohio — from weekly church attendance to the expectation that one would earn his keep,” he wrote in his recently published book. “This made me God-fearing, hard-working and America-loving.”
2. Where did Ron DeSantis and Casey DeSantis get married?
Answer: C, Disney World. That’s right, the couple married at a Disney resort in 2009 with a reception at Epcot, well before DeSantis and the entertainment conglomerate found themselves locked into a legal death match.
3. Name the man DeSantis is hugging in this photo.
Answer: That’s C, Igor Fruman, but we’ll also accept A, Lev Parnas, who is standing next to him in the photo. Fruman and Parnas are the Soviet-born businessmen and former associates of Rudy Giuliani who were indicted and found guilty on charges of interfering with U.S. elections. While they contributed $50,000 to DeSantis’ 2018 gubernatorial campaign, a DeSantis spokesperson told the Tampa Bay Times a year later that DeSantis barely knew either one. Yet, as this photo taken by Times photographer Chris Urso shows, they knew each other well enough to hug it out at DeSantis’ election night watch party in Orlando. Parnas was sentenced last year to 20 months in prison for campaign finance, wire fraud and false statements. Fruman had earlier pleaded guilty for soliciting foreign campaign contributions and was sentenced to a year in prison.
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4. When DeSantis served in the U.S. Congress as a representative for northeast Florida, he was known to walk through the corridors of the Capitol and do what?
Answer: C. Not known for the warm and fuzzies, DeSantis was remembered by former colleagues for shielding himself from small talk by wearing earbuds. That reputation has persisted, as DeSantis has generally not invested in building deep relationships with other Florida politicians during his time as governor.
5. When DeSantis last year suspended from office Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren, what reasons were cited for the removal?
Answer: D, all of the above. DeSantis announced the removal of Warren, a Democrat elected twice to his position, on Aug. 4. His executive order listed A, B and C as reasons for Warren’s suspension from office. Warren has argued that since there were no effective bans on gender transition care and abortion, he couldn’t be held responsible for not enforcing the bans (since they didn’t exist). He also said there was no policy in not prosecuting any type of crime. In a subsequent trial, it was learned that the investigation into Warren by DeSantis’ office was limited in scope and partisan. A judge later sided with Warren, saying DeSantis overstepped in removing him, but also concluded there was nothing he could do to restore Warren to office. That case is now on appeal.
6. How long did it take DeSantis to fully reopen the state after the initial stay-at-home order at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic?
Answer: C, nearly six months. After insisting in the early weeks of the pandemic that Florida was staying open for business, DeSantis issued a statewide stay-at-home order on April 1. While he started lifting some of the restrictions at the beginning of May, he did not lift the last of the statewide coronavirus-related restrictions on businesses until Sept. 25. DeSantis has repeatedly touted his efforts to reopen the state and eliminate COVID-related mandates. He has made his handling of the pandemic central to his political brand.
7. In September 2022, the DeSantis administration paid to relocate nearly 50 migrants from Texas. Where did the migrants get flown?
8. In DeSantis’ first term, he advocated for:
Answer: D, all of the above. Early in his first term, DeSantis surprised many by taking a pragmatic approach and emphasizing issues with bipartisan support. That tone changed during the pandemic, when DeSantis was nationally criticized for his aggressive approach to reopening the state and he began further embracing cultural issues, including measures that target LGBTQ+ youth.
9. DeSantis publicly overruled lawmakers of his own party on which issue?
Answer: B, redistricting maps. DeSantis exercised unprecedented authority over Florida’s redistricting process in 2022, when he vetoed maps passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature and ordered lawmakers to come back to Tallahassee to pass versions drawn by his own office. Those maps ended up helping Republicans running for Congress in Florida, and likely played a role in the GOP taking a slim U.S. House majority in the midterms.
10. What will be one of the longest-lasting impacts of DeSantis’ governance of Florida?
Answer: A. The other three policies have all largely been struck down by courts, making their futures unclear. (Some are still in the appeals process.) But DeSantis has appointed five of Florida’s seven Supreme Court justices, reshaping an institution that had previously served as a major impediment to conservatives’ takeover of policy in the state. Later this year, those justices are expected to reverse the state’s long-held precedent on abortion, for example, allowing increased abortion restrictions to take effect. Justices can serve until they reach the mandatory retirement age of 75.