DeSantis Gets GOP Excited in Florida House Race

Saturday, 20 Oct 2012 01:27 PM

By Andra Varin

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Ron DeSantis is running for Congress in Florida’s new 6th District. But don’t call him a politician.

His website is very clear about that. It bills the Republican as “Veteran. Citizen. Not a politician.”

An Iraq war vet who served as both a military and a federal prosecutor, DeSantis has never served in public office before. But he’s already got the backing of the tea party and some big-name conservatives, including Joe Arpaio of Arizona’s Maricopa County, who calls himself “America’s toughest sheriff.”

DeSantis, 33, is running against Democrat Heather Beaven, 43, who also served in the Navy in Iraq — as a cryptologist during Operation Desert Storm. She now runs an education nonprofit.

Her husband, Douglas Beaven, is an Army reservist currently serving in Afghanistan. They have two daughters. DeSantis is married to Casey Black DeSantis, a television host.

The 6th District is in north-central Florida, stretching from St. Johns to Volusia County, running from the western suburbs of Jacksonville to the areas north of Orlando.

The 6th District went Republican in both of the last two presidential elections.

Beaven has been endorsed by former President Bill Clinton. DeSantis has nods from Sen. Marco Rubio, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, the National Rifle Association and the Tea Party Express.

“We need more men like Ron DeSantis in the United States Congress,” Tea Party Express Chairwoman Amy Kremer said in making the endorsement.

“Ron is committed to defending the Constitution and will fight to return our government to the limits laid out in our founding document. He believes in individual liberty and the notion that government does not create jobs by taxing and spending more of our hard-earned money,” she said.

Educated at Yale University and Harvard Law School, DeSantis wrote a book, “Dreams From Our Founding Fathers: First Principles in the Age of Obama,” because he says he was “disgusted by political elites who display ignorance of” the Constitution.

In the fundraising race, DeSantis has the advantage. He has raised $895,490 so far, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, compared to $233,622 for Beaven.

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