Gov. Ron DeSantis wasn’t worried about losing re-election last year, he told Iowans, but it did occur to him that he would have lost his “public housing” if Charlie Crist had scored the upset.
“Look, we knew we were going to do well. But, you know, I just, you know, I told my wife, I’m like, man, I have to win because, like, we need to keep the public housing for a few more years,” DeSantis told supporters in Coralville.
DeSantis’ props for “public housing” came after he described his ill-timed sale of a property in Ponte Vedra in 2019, where the First Family lived before he got elected Governor.
“When I first got elected, we had a house in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, which is south of Jacksonville, north of St. Augustine, great community. And we bought it at the bottom of the market when we got married in 2009. And so by 2019, like the value had gone up and I’m just like, we weren’t going to use it. And like, I, as Governor, I’m not going to be renting it out and having, like, a landlord-tenant dispute,” DeSantis said.
“Now, if we had just left it with how much things went up since I’ve been Governor, we would have made a lot more money,” he added.
Interestingly, DeSantis couldn’t call that house home after the 2016 redistricting that moved Florida’s 6th Congressional District farther south in St. Johns County than Ponte Vedra. He rented from a company co-run by old friend and political backer, Kent Stermon, who took his own life last December amid personal health struggles and a scandal in which he solicited sexual favors from a young woman with the promise of tickets and access to pop singer Taylor Swift.
DeSantis also told Iowans Thursday about how the spike in housing prices in recent years surprised him, as homeowners “doubled their wealth.”
“In Florida, the home prices have gone up because there’s been massive demand for people. I thought it was going to correct because I’m like, man, I mean, this is crazy and there’s more people want to come,” DeSantis said, before going on to describe “middle class people that doubled their wealth, basically because of the demand for living in Florida and all that.”
One estimate is that during the first year after the DeSantises sold their house in Ponte Vedra, it went up in value by more than $200,000.