Ron DeSantis

official U.S. Congress photo of Ron DeSantis, c. 2012/2013

Birth Name: Ronald Dion DeSantis

Place of Birth: Jacksonville, Florida, U.S.

Date of Birth: September 14, 1978

Ethnicity: Italian

Ron DeSantis is an American attorney, naval officer, politician, and author. A Republican, he has been Governor of Florida, since January 8, 2019. He was previously a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida, from January 3, 2013 to September 10, 2018. He joined the U.S. Navy in 2004, where he was a lieutenant, and later legal advisor to SEAL Team One; in this capacity, he was stationed at Joint Task Force Guantanamo in 2006, and deployed to Iraq in 2007. In 2008, he was appointed Special Assistant U.S. attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Middle District of Florida.

He was a candidate for the Republican Party’s nomination for President of the United States in 2024.

Ron is the son of Karen (Rogers), a nurse, and Ronald DeSantis, who installed Nielsen ratings boxes. His parents are both Italian-American, with roots in the Midwest, and met in Youngstown, Ohio. Ron’s middle name is after singer Dion DiMucci. He was raised partly in Orlando, then Dunedin, Tampa, Florida. He is married to news journalist and television show host Casey DeSantis (née Black), with whom he has three children.

Ron is a Roman Catholic.

Ron’s paternal grandfather was Daniel DeSantis (the son of Nicola Eugenio Desantis and Maria Nolfi). Daniel was born in Pennsylvania, to Italian parents, who were born in Cansano, L’Aquila, Abruzzo. Nicola was the son of Eugenio DeSantis and Filomena Pellegrina. Maria’s parents, Antonio/Tony Nolfe and Angeline Marchionni, were from Bugnara, Abruzzo.

Ron’s paternal grandmother was Yolunda Viola M. Petrella (the daughter of Salvatore Petrella and Maria/Mary Dominique Casasanta/Cassasanti). Viola was born in Ohio, to Italian parents, from Pratola Peligna, L’Aquila, Abruzzo. Salvatore was the son of Venanzio Petrella and Cesidia Pagnotti Pace. Maria was the daughter of Donato Casasanta and Maria Concetta Carducci.

Ron’s maternal grandfather was Philip Rogers (the son of Antonio Rogers/Ruggiero and Rosina/Rose Storti). Philip was born in Pennsylvania, to Italian parents. Antonio was born in Galdo, Benevento, Campania, the son of Filippo Ruggiero and Maria Civita Fusco. Rosina was born in Castelfranci, Avellino, Campania, the daughter of Salvatore Storti and Luigia Colucci.

Ron’s maternal grandmother was Carolyn L. Delisio (the daughter of Robert Kresienzo Delisio and Anna Antoinette Deoto/DeOtto). Carolyn was born in Ohio, to Italian parents. Robert was born in Pacentro, Provincia dell’Aquila, Abruzzo, the son of Venanzio Delisio and Maria V. Anna was born in Castelbottaccio, Campobasso, Molise.

Three people of significant Italian heritage have won a caucus, primary, and/or nominating ballot for a major American party’s Presidential nomination. The three are:
*Al Smith (who was the Democratic Party’s nominee for President of the United States in 1928, and was also a candidate for the 1920, 1924, and 1932 Democratic nominations for President: in 1928, he won 12 contests; in 1932, he won 4 contests; Smith’s paternal grandfather was Italian)
*Michael DiSalle (1960; Democratic; won 1 state, Ohio)
*Rick Santorum (Republican; ran in 2012 and 2016: in 2012, he won 11 contests; Santorum is of three quarters Italian descent)

Ted Cruz, whose maternal great-grandfather was Italian, won 11 contests in the 2016 Republican Party primaries.

Other people of significant Italian heritage who have mounted plausible or semi-plausible campaigns for a major party’s nomination for President of the United States are:
*John A. Volpe (who sought the 1968 Republican nomination)
*James Traficant (who sought the 1988 Democratic nomination; Traficant’s father was of Italian descent)
*Rudy Giuliani (who sought the 2008 Republican nomination)
*Tom Tancredo (who sought the 2008 Republican nomination)
*George Pataki (who sought the 2016 Republican nomination; Pataki’s maternal grandfather was Italian)
*Chris Christie (who sought the 2016 and 2020 Republican nominations; Christie’s mother was of Italian descent)
*Richard Ojeda (who sought the 2020 Democratic nomination; Ojeda’s mother is of at least three quarters Italian descent)
*Tim Ryan (who sought the 2020 Democratic nomination; Ryan’s mother is of Italian descent)
*Bill de Blasio (who sought the 2020 Democratic nomination; de Blasio’s mother was of Italian descent)

Geraldine Ferraro, who was of Italian descent, was the Democratic nominee for Vice President of the United States in 1984.

Sources: Information about some of Ron’s family history –

Genealogy of Ron DeSantis –

20 Responses

  1. follers says:

    I think it’s safe to say there’s now a character type, the “popular Italian-American Republican politician who’s initially polling well or even ahead but ultimately fails to win a single nominating contest” (Giuliani, Christie years ago, DeSantis). The opposite of Rick Santorum (“unpopular,” “polling poorly,” “wins a lot of them”).

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