Ron DeSantis


U.S. congressional representative

U.S. representative since 2013, former military prosecutor

This post is part of our voter guide for the Aug. 28 local and primary elections. Head to the main landing page for a guide to the key races and decisions being made this election.

Gov. Rick Scott can’t run for a third consecutive term, so the race for the next governor of Florida is wide open. The Democratic and Republican primaries have a full slate of diverse candidates, but we chose to focus on the competitive candidates in both races.

Based on the questions you said you had for the candidates, we recapped their stances on the following issues: guns, climate change and the environment, criminal justice, Amendment 4 (aka the Voter Restoration Act, or allowing felons who have completed their sentences to regain their right to vote), and marijuana legalization. The winners of the Republican and Democratic primaries for this seat will face off in the November general election.

While this field is packed with plenty of candidates Adam Putnam and Ron DeSantis have such a substantial lead in fundraising, polling numbers, and name recognition that we’ve chosen to focus on them as the most competitive candidates.

DeSantis is a third term U.S. congressman. He represents District 6 on Florida’s east coast, which includes cities like DeLand and Daytona Beach. His campaign has provided scant information on policy plans for things like handling environmental issues, criminal justice reform, regulating marijuana use or gun reform but he has a major endorsement— from President Donald Trump. His status as an Iraq War veteran, his desire to be tough on immigration and Trump’s backing have been the main focus of his campaign.

DeSantis’s opponents are Adam Putnam, Don Baldauf, Timothy Devine, Bob Langford, John Joseph Mercadante, Bruce Nathan and Bob White.


NRA grade: A

He has voiced support for the Second Amendment and said he would have vetoed the major gun reform bill that the Florida Legislature approved in the last session.


In an interview with TCPalm he’s stated that he wants to increase storage projects south of Lake Okeechobee to prevent the damage from this summer’s massive algae bloom.

Renewable energy: We couldn’t find a public statement from the candidate on the issue.

Criminal justice

He hasn’t given many specifics on prisons, law enforcement or other reforms but has stated his strong opposition to illegal immigration.

Voter Restoration ActHe’s stated opposition to Amendment 4, which would allow felons who have completed their sentences to regain their right to vote.

Medical and recreational marijuana

He opposes legalizing recreational marijuana but supports medical marijuana use.