Here’s how much Ron DeSantis is worth
Ron DeSantis, the person best placed to challenge Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, has more in common with Barack Obama than with his Republican rival, at least when it comes to personal finances. DeSantis, who currently serves as governor of Florida, has limited business experience in the private sector and a personal track record to match. At the end of last year, he was worth about $320,000 and still owed about $20,000 in student loans, according to a financial disclosure report he filed in June.
Things should change soon, if they haven’t already. Politics reported in February that DeSantis landed a lucrative book deal with HarperCollins, the publishing giant owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. Neither DeSantis nor HarperCollins responded to requests for comment, so it’s unclear exactly how much money might be involved. An anonymous source Told Politico that DeSantis had backed out of a “handshake deal” with another publisher that was worth nearly $2 million.
That number is in line with the first big payday Obama received after bursting onto the national scene as a candidate for the Illinois Senate. In 2005, he signed a three-book deal worth $1.9 million with Random House. The money grew as his profile grew. From 2007 to 2009, when Obama went from senator to president, he earned $12.6 million, according to his tax returns. Even if DeSantis doesn’t beat Trump, he could still get rich trying. Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanderswho both lost primaries, nevertheless made small fortunes profiting from the publicity that accompanies presidential campaigns.
DeSantis, born in Florida into a working-class family, is not used to big money. A strong student and talented athlete, he went to Yale University, where he captained the baseball team. After graduating, DeSantis joined the history department at a Georgia private school, before heading to Harvard Law School. He graduated in 2005 and went to work for the US Navy. At 27, DeSantis had two prestigious degrees, a stack of student loans and a modest government salary.
The military may not have provided much money, but it did provide some benefits, such as access to generous loan programs. In 2009, DeSantis worked with the Department of Veterans Affairs to purchase a $307,500 home outside of Jacksonville, borrowing $314,000, still more than the cost of the property. He moved to the Naval Reserve in 2010, the same year he married his wife, Casey, a local TV personality.
In 2011, DeSantis worked for Florida-based law firm Holland & Knight, earning $128,000. He also published a political book, “Dreams From Our Founding Fathers: First Principles in the Age of Obama”, using the title of the memoirs of the 44th president. DeSantis only received about $20,000 from his first stint as an author.
He soon dove deeper into politics, winning a congressional seat in 2012. He served on Capitol Hill for nearly six years, hiding part of his $174,000 salary in a savings plan while there. . He also briefly expanded his real estate portfolio by buying a $242,000 home in Palm Coast, Florida in 2016. He sold it two years later for $275,000, paying off the mortgage and pocketing a small profit.
At that time, DeSantis was concentrating on his first gubernatorial campaign. He beat Democrat Andrew Gillum by a narrow margin, allowing DeSantis to improve his housing situation. His family sold their home near Jacksonville for $460,000 – about $150,000 more than Ron had paid to buy it – and moved into the governor’s mansion in Tallahassee.
DeSantis’ two home sales were poorly timed, preventing him from taking advantage of Florida’s pandemic-fueled surge in real estate prices. If the governor, who currently earns around $140,000 a year, had been able to keep his homes, he might have been half a million dollars richer by the end of last year. Instead, he was worth just $320,000, less than the average American his age.
But DeSantis, 44, looks set to make a lot more money.