Before he was a household name nationwide, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was a member of Congress representing part of northeast Florida during the presidencies of both Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
In examining his record as a member of the House, Florida Gulf Coast University Political Science Professor Dr. Sandra Pavelka said he was solidly conservative, helping to launch the House Freedom Caucus.
"He has been a true Republican, [and] was very bound by a conservative agenda with the Freedom Caucus and other groups," Pavelka told Spectrum News.
DeSantis was the lead sponsor of 52 pieces of legislation in Congress. Only a handful of his bills made it through the House, and none of the bills became law.
"He had a number of bills that were sponsored, but really none of them… certainly, as a junior member of Congress, they didn't really get out of committee or get passed by the House, which isn't unusual. That's pretty typical," she said.
On foreign policy, some of his key bills were the Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of the State of Israel Act and the State Sanctions Against Iranian Terrorism Act to further limit investment activities in that country.
On the domestic side, he crafted the Targeting Child Predators Act of 2017 to give law enforcement more time to gather online evidence against perpetrators.
He was also a co-sponsor of 550 pieces of legislation. Some included a bill to make Puerto Rico a state, legislation to defund Planned Parenthood, and a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. And he backed legislation called the FairTax Act to replace federal income taxes with a national sales tax and eliminate the Internal Revenue Service.
"People who are really kind of against sales taxes state that it's a regressive tax that really places the tax burden on low-income Americans and low-income families," Pavelka said.
As a congressman, DeSantis also voted to increase the eligibility ages for Medicare and Social Security. A pro-Trump PAC has launched ads attacking DeSantis for those votes. DeSantis has since said he's "not going to mess" with those programs.
DeSantis also served on what Pavelka says are "three very influential committees."
"He was on Judiciary, Foreign [Affairs], and Government Oversight and Reform. And again, those are very prestigious committees. So, his background in the Navy and his background as an attorney came in handy with those committee assignments," Pavelka said.
DeSantis resigned from Congress in Sept. 2018 to focus on the governor's race, which he won two months later.