As Florida Governor Ron DeSantis prepares for a possible White House run in 2024 — even without Donald Trump in the campaign — he is gaining support from some of the previous president’s strongest backers.
Big Cash for DeSantis
According to a Politico examination of campaign finance records, DeSantis garnered the attention of some of the country’s wealthiest Republican contributors.
This includes those who were significant funders of Trump’s reelection attempt or backers of high-profile Republican politicians and organizations.
Friends of Ron DeSantis, a DeSantis-aligned political group, collected $3.4 million this election cycle from ten contributors who spent a total of $24 million on Trump’s reelection campaign.
The majority of the high-dollar contributors never donated to a state-level Florida election before; those who had previously contributed dramatically upped their expenditure for DeSantis in the 2022 midterm elections.
In Florida, we are taking action to protect our state from Biden's Border Crisis. pic.twitter.com/bd6LAAWNYn
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) June 17, 2022
While many contributors are focused on the governor’s victory in November, DeSantis’ financing indicates he is simultaneously a credible 2024 contender who may not require Trump’s support.
He is one who’s draining some of Trump’s monetary assistance.
Francis Rooney, a retired construction firm owner, longstanding Republican supporter, and previous Florida representative who was open to impeaching Trump in 2019, said the following:
“I believe Ron’s fundraising really screams on its own. It’s feasible that Trump’s Republican support continues to dwindle and I believe that people will begin to turn elsewhere.”
DeSantis already has collected more than $100 million, setting a new record for a single campaign in Florida. He is a clear favorite to win victory this year, a success that may leave him with a sizable war chest when the 2024 election season approaches.
DeSantis had long been projected to run for the presidency in 2024, but he dramatically increased his national profile and support among conservatives throughout the country in the last year.
That comes thanks to his anti-shutdown COVID-19 policies and uncompromising resistance to pandemic-related rules.
DeSantis vs. Trump?
In early 2024 straw polls, he’s been running neck-and-neck with Trump or even beating him, prompting some GOP top contributors to write large contributions to DeSantis at a time when doing so may be politically risky.
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) June 19, 2022
“I know a lot of contributors who are on the fence,” said Shiree Verdone, who worked as Trump’s Arizona campaign co-chair for both of his election races.
“They adore DeSantis, who is extremely beloved, but you would not want to irritate Trump.”
William Buckley, a former venture capitalist with a residence in Lost Tree Village, and an affluent Palm Beach County neighborhood home to some of the country’s greatest political contributors, has been a major donor to DeSantis since his 2018 campaign for governor.
Buckley contributed $1 million to the cause.
Richard Uihlein, an Illinois entrepreneur who backed DeSantis in 2018, gave the governor $700,000 four years ago. In 2022, he and his spouse, Elizabeth, have pledged $1.2 million.