(“You can’t be a brunette on Fox!” a woman in the audience yelled. “They need” them, the governor replied.)

Ms. DeSantis kept a lower profile after being diagnosed with breast cancer last October. She and Mr. DeSantis traveled from the governor’s mansion in Tallahassee to a hospital in Tampa for her treatments. Her return to the campaign trail in May, for a visit to the retirement mecca of The Villages, received “exclusive” coverage from Fox News.

Her foray into disaster relief began shortly after Mr. DeSantis took office in January 2019, when the Florida Panhandle was still recovering from Hurricane Michael, a Category 5 storm that hit three months earlier. She focused on providing mental health counseling for children, overseeing the creation of telemedicine portals for public schools.

Since Hurricane Ian made landfall last week, Ms. DeSantis has helped volunteers deliver meals at a Baptist church, visited veterans at a nursing home and distributed food and water with the National Guard. The governor’s office has announced donations from major corporations in and out of the state, including Florida Power & Light, Goldman Sachs and Verizon, and grants to nonprofits such as Save the Children, the Salvation Army and the American Red Cross.

Internal Revenue Service records show that Volunteer Florida received tax-exempt status in 2010, when Charlie Crist — now Mr. DeSantis’s Democratic challenger who polls suggest is trailing him — was governor. Its most recent tax filing, for the year ending in June 2020, shows that the foundation contributed to Catholic Charities, the Centro Campesino Farmworker Center and the Gulf County School Board, among other organizations.

Ms. DeSantis has taken the personal, emotional approach to call for more charitable giving, standing in stark contrast with her husband’s businesslike one. At the Baptist church over the weekend, she said she met a woman in a minivan named Mary.

“There were five small children in the back,” she said. “She broke down into tears when she started talking about her home and the floodwaters coming in.”

By Thursday, the governor’s office announced that donations to the disaster relief fund had reached nearly $35 million.

Matt Flegenheimer and Mitch Smith contributed reporting. Kitty Bennett contributed research.

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