Buoyed by big donors, Ron DeSantis raises $20 million

July 17, 2023
Matthew Boose

Florida governor Ron DeSantis (R) has raised $20 million since declaring his presidential bid - an impressive haul that conceals some emerging concerns with the campaign. 

DeSantis has burned through nearly half the money raised since his launch - about $8 million - and President Trump has a pronounced small donor advantage.

The average donation to Trump was $34, with just 15 percent of DeSantis' money coming from donors sending less than $200.

DeSantis' fundraising haul

President Trump - fueled by backlash to his historic indictments - eclipsed DeSantis with $35 million raised in the second quarter. The governor has $12 million left to spend, while Trump has a war chest of $22 million.

Still, DeSantis touted the fundraising totals as proof of the Florida governor's momentum - noting that DeSantis' principal campaign outraised Trump's by about $2 million. DeSantis also outraised Biden, who brought in $19 million.

“Our campaign brought in more than the entire field — including a current and former president — because the enthusiasm for Ron DeSantis’ movement to restore sanity to our nation and lead our Great American Comeback is unprecedented,” DeSantis campaign manager Generra Peck said.

When donations to Save America, Trump's political action committee, are included, his haul rises to $35 million.

DeSantis has raised $130 million through his super PAC, Never Back Down, since it launched in March. The majority of that money was transferred from a state committee supporting DeSantis' 2022 campaign.

DeSantis struggles

The DeSantis campaign has struggled to catch fire since launching in May, with some donors expressing concern about DeSantis' performance and relatability.

The governor has to make up for a daunting polling deficit, with Trump leading the pack by a comfortable double-digit margin as Vivek Ramaswamy begins to edge closer to DeSantis.

Team Trump ripped DeSantis over the news that the campaign is trimming its staff, saying he “clearly mismanaged his supporters’ donations.”

“If he can’t even run his own campaign correctly, how can he run a country?” Trump spokesman Steven Cheung asked.

The DeSantis team acknowledged the campaign is being re-shuffled, but said it was part of a wider strategy.

"Americans are rallying behind Ron DeSantis and his plan to reverse Joe Biden’s failures and restore sanity to our nation, and his momentum will only continue as voters see more of him in person, especially in Iowa,” the campaign said.

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