Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who often speaks of his working-class background, is now a millionaire thanks to a $1.25 million book deal he signed with HarperCollins ahead of his candidacy for president.
Mr. DeSantis saw his net worth skyrocket to $1.17 million by the end of 2022, up from about $319,000 in 2021, according to a financial disclosure filed Friday with the Florida Commission on Ethics. The governor’s memoir, “The Courage to Be Free,” was published in late February as a prelude to the presidential campaign he announced in May. It became a NewsMadura non-fiction bestseller, selling more than 94,000 copies in its first week. (Literary reviews were less kind.)
Before declaring his candidacy for president, Mr. DeSantis made a series of trips across the country to meet with local Republicans and promote his book. “And so my book, I think it’s right there, just so you know, No. 1 book in America for non-fiction,” said a smiling Mr. DeSantis during one of those stops in Iowa this spring. “There are a lot of people who aren’t happy about that, I can tell you.”
Mr. DeSantis, a former congressman, had seen his personal wealth relatively stable in the years since he was first elected governor in 2018. At the end of that year, he reported that his net worth was about $284,000.
As governor, Mr. DeSantis received an annual salary of $141,400.20 last year. In addition to his salary and the book deal, he reported receiving no other income in 2022, according to his state financial disclosure. His assets include a USAA bank account with just over $1 million, as well as a federal savings plan and a state retirement account. Mr. DeSantis, a Navy veteran, has spent nearly his entire career in government service. His sole liability is listed as nearly $19,000 in student loan debt.
Mr. DeSantis’ uncomplicated finances contrast with the sprawling commercial empire of his main rival for the Republican nomination, Donald J. Trump, who is well ahead of Mr. DeSantis in national polls. Mr. Trump, whose father was a successful real estate developer, grew up wealthy.
On the campaign trail, Mr. DeSantis emphasizes his much humbler roots.
“I was a working-class kid growing up. My parents were working class,” he told a crowd in North Carolina this month, adding that he had been working low-paying jobs to help himself through school.
“And I only did that because I believe in America,” Mr. DeSantis continued. “If you work hard and make the most of your God-given ability, you will have the opportunity to do great things. And I wonder how many people believe that these days.”