Ron DeSantis Raises $20 Million For Campaign, Behind Trump

The former president claims he raised $35 million over the last three months, but the numbers aren't that straightforward.
DeSantis' campaign is trailing Trump in fundraising, but his initial number doesn't offer a complete picture.
DeSantis' campaign is trailing Trump in fundraising, but his initial number doesn't offer a complete picture.
via Associated Press

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign says it raised $20 million in the second quarter of 2023, a figure that’s lower than what former President Donald Trump claims to have brought in during this quarter — although neither candidate released all the information they’ll eventually need to reveal to the Federal Election Commission later this month.

DeSantis’ fundraising haul accounts for only the first six weeks of his campaign, which launched May 24. More than $8 million of that came within the first 24 hours of his campaign launch.

And what the campaigns raise may end up mattering far less than what their affiliated super PACs bring in from wealthy donors: Never Back Down, the super PAC supporting DeSantis for president, said it raised $130 million since launching in March, a total boosted by more than $60 million DeSantis raised while running for governor last year.

Trump, meanwhile, reportedly raised $35 million during the entire three-month fundraising period. Trump’s number also couldn’t be confirmed against official receipts due to the Federal Election Commission by July 15. Neither campaign is saying how much they spent or how much cash they have on hand as of the end of June. And the rest of the GOP field has yet to release their fundraising totals.

DeSantis’ number is more than double the $9.5 million Trump reported raising in the first six weeks of his campaign beginning in late November.

Seven months out from the first primary contest, Trump is the undisputed frontrunner for the Republican nomination, leading DeSantis by more than 30 percentage points in most polling averages. Not only is Trump ahead, but he’s also increased his lead since the Florida governor entered the race, suggesting that Trump still holds extreme sway over the Republican Party and that primary voters are unmoved by their first glimpses of DeSantis as Trump’s main opponent.

Trump and DeSantis are polling leagues ahead of former Vice President Mike Pence, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and others who make up the ballooning field of White House contenders.

DeSantis and Trump are expected to lead the field in fundraising by substantial margins, with the possible exceptions of North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and Ramaswamy, both of whom are expected to tap their substantial personal fortunes to power their campaigns. Scott has used the $41 million he already had in a Senate campaign account to bolster his bid.

The former president has been fundraising heavily around his legal problems, contributing to a much bigger fundraising number than he posted last quarter — roughly $18.8 million. The $35 million figure is apparently split between his official account and leadership PAC, Save America, and there are different rules around how each pot of money can be used.

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