Memo reveals Ron DeSantis campaign’s strategy to spin Hurricane Idalia as political lift

desantis-storm-idalia copy
Expect the campaign to tout the Governor's 'Strong Leadership' and 'Swift Response.'

A communications memo from Gov. Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign discusses how to spin the state’s response to Hurricane Idalia into a political headwind.

A memo obtained by Florida Politics reveals the DeSantis campaign’s talking points since the Governor left the campaign trail to address a disaster at home.

Under the heading “Strong Leadership in a Time of Crisis,” the memo stresses DeSantis’ record leading Florida’s government through multiple natural disasters.

“The DeSantis Administration helped guide the state through another historic storm,” reads the memo, which was authored by campaign Communications Director Andrew Romeo. “As part of that effort, Ron DeSantis appropriately left the presidential campaign trail to focus on the needs of Floridians.”

DeSantis canceled several out-of-state campaign appearances as the Category 3 hurricane made landfall in the Sunshine State. But the memo shows his campaign communications staff has remained hard at work finding ways to spotlight DeSantis’ official duties as a political asset.

That includes highlighting a $2.7 billion tax relief package that included a sales tax holiday on generators and hurricane supplies.

The memo also touts the newly created Florida State Guard, which just graduated its first troops from training camp. The state guard was deployed in Taylor County after Idalia made landfall there on Wednesday morning.

“Just two months after the first graduation of Florida State Guard soldiers in 75 years, following legislation signed by DeSantis, these brave men and women are already making a difference in Florida’s time of need,” the memo reads.

Talking points also include rapid power restoration, stressing 420,000 already have lights back on. The memo includes a quote from Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator DeAnne Criswell, an appointee of President Joe Biden, praising ongoing and previous efforts to deploy linemen and restore electricity.

“What we saw during Hurricane Ian is that they were able to restore the power rather quickly, and I expect the same to happen here,” Criswell told CNN in a clip also shared by the campaign-run DeSantis War Room account on X.

The memo heaps praise on a number of state agencies that report to DeSantis, including the departments of Health, Environmental Protection, Transportation and Law Enforcement. It also showcases First Lady Casey DeSantis’ work raising private donations to support recovery.

“First Lady Casey DeSantis has reactivated the Florida Disaster Fund, previously used to support those impacted by Hurricane Ian last year, to provide additional aid to those in need following Hurricane Idalia,” the memo reads. “Donations are tax-deductible, and 100% of donations will be used to help Floridians recover from the storm.”

One talking point notes all state-maintained bridges in communities affected by Idalia have been cleared. Of note, that was a message stressed by DeSantis at an official press conference on Thursday.

Overall, the memo drills in the Governor’s “Swift Response” and the benefits to Floridians from his leadership.

This campaign memo was just the latest strategy message to lead from DeSantis-world. The pro-DeSantis super PAC Never Back Down published a memo on its website offering debate advice to DeSantis, and it made headlines before being taken down. Another NBD memo offered fundraising advice for DeSantis supporters.

Campaigns and super PACs cannot directly coordinate messaging.

DeSantis Hurricane Memo PDF by Jacob Ogles on Scribd

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • tom palmer

    September 1, 2023 at 7:13 pm

    The power companies deserve credit for restoring power because that is their job and they do not make any money when the lights are off.
    I’d add that the links on X and FB on the Big Bend disaster had a photo of Gov. DeSantis talking on the phone, What is up with that?

  • My Take

    September 1, 2023 at 8:03 pm

    A “headwind” is typically a bad thing.

    • Rick Whitaker

      September 2, 2023 at 3:11 pm

      not to a pilot, but i know what you meant

      • My Take

        September 2, 2023 at 5:40 pm

        True, not to a pilot when taking off or landing.
        But bad for pilot, or sailor, trying to go some distance, to make some headway.

  • Rick Whitaker

    September 1, 2023 at 9:15 pm

    is desantis as bad as his presentation makes him look. i suspect he is even worse behind closed doors.

  • Michael K

    September 1, 2023 at 9:54 pm

    They are touting the fact the the governor finally came home to Florida – where he is paid to serve – as though showing up to do his job is somehow special?

    • Rick Whitaker

      September 2, 2023 at 3:18 pm

      the leadership bar is set way too low in florida. maybe they should use obama’s style of leadership as a template.

  • Earl Pitts American

    September 1, 2023 at 10:13 pm

    Good evening Dook 4 Brains Leftists,
    I am imagining how each and every one of you frauds would be fawining over Gillum, Crist, or Fried under the exact same circumstances had the citizens elected one of your above Dook 4 Brains leftys rather than Desantis. You Dook 4 Brains folk have no soul and thus are not human.
    Thank you Dook 4 Brains Leftists.
    Earl Pitts “Whose Your Daddy” American

    • JD

      September 2, 2023 at 9:55 am

      Your boy is losing so much, “Earl”, you probably should just abstain from posting. It draws attention to his dipshittery.

    • Rick Whitaker

      September 2, 2023 at 3:20 pm

      earl, watch your mouth, a lefty might be your real daddy

    • Earl Pitts is a Pedophile

      September 5, 2023 at 10:49 am

      Today is the day Earl. Grab that shotgun from your closet, put the barrel in your mouth, and pull the trigger. You won’t be missed, so it’s not a big loss. Don’t worry. Pedo lives are meaningless.

  • Richard C. Russell

    September 1, 2023 at 10:24 pm

    Ronny, ya need to find the leaker/s because that leak is not good, if it’s true. If it’s not true but is a lie put out by someone inside your campaign, that’s even worse.

    • My Take

      September 2, 2023 at 12:22 am

      DeepState is everywhere.
      DeepState never sleeps.

    • Rick Whitaker

      September 2, 2023 at 3:29 pm

      gop not being loyal to each other is a standard, not an exception. personally, with desantis’s character, who would want to be loyal to him. under the bus is where most of the desantis clan will end up.

  • My Take

    September 2, 2023 at 1:38 am

    If DoofSSantis did get elected, imagine all the US secrets it would probably leak.

  • My Take

    September 2, 2023 at 1:56 am

    The state guard was deployed in Taylor County after Idalia made landfall there on Wednesday morning.”
    To shoot black people assumed to be looters?
    Disaster duty in DeSSanistan.
    Remember the reports as to how they were being trained. More as warriors than rescuers.

    • Rick Whitaker

      September 2, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      desantistan, i love it. thanks for making me smile.

  • Sonja Fitch

    September 2, 2023 at 5:19 am

    OF COURSE Desantis uses any and everything to promote his presidential candidacy! This white man is the personification of looooosssser!

  • Ocean Joe

    September 2, 2023 at 7:13 am

    Will our schools now be required to teach that Hurricanes have benefits? They do vent heat, sometimes they uncover relics, create new inlets, create political photo ops, etc. Does Prager U or Moms for Liberty have a video on that?

    • Robert Hartman

      September 3, 2023 at 9:49 am

      Now that’s funny! I’ll be sharing that comment.

  • Biscuit

    September 2, 2023 at 9:02 am

    Don’t worry about DeSantis, he can take a leak.
    Just watch out for the trickle-down.

  • Sonja Fitch

    September 2, 2023 at 11:30 am

    Same as Desantis always has been. Desantis political bs is all he does to make “news” stfu Desantis!

  • Elmo

    September 2, 2023 at 12:17 pm

    Oh boy he did his job. Big deal. Pathetic man. Pathetic campaign.

  • Jeff Ward

    September 2, 2023 at 12:22 pm

    DeSantis didn’t even bother to visit last spring when millions of South Florida motorists in South Florida were out of gas and stranded ? For hurricane relief, why not start with creating adequate emergency supplies of gas and diesel staged around FL?

  • nail

    September 3, 2023 at 8:59 am

    The handmaiden is stealing funds again.It’s bad enough that no one person affected by Ian received a penny, but we can’t get answers where the funds went.The 10 months later there is still piles of trash from Ian, Ala shades of trump, clean up crews screaming they were not paid from Ian, and she still had $9 million? Wha while ppl are living in tents because their homes,. 10 months later are still unlivable.When there is $9 million siting there…

    • A Random Guest

      September 4, 2023 at 7:30 am

      Rhonda claims ““Donations are tax-deductible, and 100% of donations will be used to help Floridians recover from the storm.”
      So the people who are processing applications and directing payments doing it for free?
      Or is Tacky O the only employee managing this fund?
      Time for the IRS to audit the fund; you can smell the grift from 1,000 miles away.

      • My Take

        September 4, 2023 at 11:43 am

        I wondèr what Melania thinks of Tacky O?

  • Michael K

    September 4, 2023 at 12:44 pm

    We should all feel grateful that our governor left the campaign trail to parachute in during the hurricane?

    Once again, the people of Florida are simply tools (and fools) and props for Ron and Casey’s personal political aspirations. That’s all.

  • Jesse

    September 4, 2023 at 12:56 pm

    He failed when he failed to at least meet the President face to face. He couldn’t even rise above partisan hackery in the wake of a natural disaster. The guy is a disaster on every level. I actually kind of feel sorry for his supporters at this point. It must be difficult going through life when you’re that stupid.

    • Rob

      September 4, 2023 at 8:12 pm

      He’s scared of looking short next to Biden.

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704