As Florida Governor Ron DeSantis contemplates running for the White House in 2024, one of his great strengths is his ability to attract huge sums of capital from wealthy donors, but just as the wins for both Obama and Trump demonstrated, the recent election also won at the grassroots level. Popularity – and DeSantis seems to have a lot of work to do.
DeSantis, 44, is believed to have a war chest of close to $110 million thanks to the support of state and federal committees that have promised to throw their weight behind the potential GOP nominee.
But money doesn’t guarantee momentum when it comes to winning the presidency, and Florida’s success doesn’t mean victory on the national stage.
DeSantis will need to show a knack for navigating a grassroots fundraising environment that still shows overwhelming support for former President Donald Trump.
DeSantis will also need to connect with millionaire donors and appear at fundraisers whose support is essential to any presidential campaign.
As Florida Governor Ron DeSantis contemplates a presidential campaign in 2024, his ability to raise money from wealthy donors is seen as one of his main strengths.
DeSantis’ poll numbers seem to have slipped against Trump in recent weeks as 58% support Trump compared to just 21% who support DeSantis.
Trump released a more detailed breakdown of the latest poll showing his numbers increasing as DeSantis’ momentum appears to be slipping away.
DeSantis has so far kept donors away while touring the country, and most of his money is tied up in a Florida political action committee, making it difficult to use around the country.
The law would prevent him from diverting dollars raised by the state of Florida into a national presidential campaign.
No attempts to transfer funds to the ultra PAC “Never Back Down” is almost certain to raise red flags among campaign finance watchers.
DeSantis wasn’t even an announced candidate and supporters from all 50 states have already stepped up and donated to the Never Back Down movement. If he decides to run for president, he will be a grassroots force to be reckoned with,” said super PAC spokesperson Erin Perrin.
DeSantis’ recent remarks on Ukraine have also unnerved Republican supporters, and his poll numbers have suffered as a result, with a Reuters/Ipsos poll putting Trump’s support nearly three times that of DeSantis.
“I think he had a wavering few weeks communicating with donors,” said Rob Stutzman, who worked with former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and on Mitt Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign.
“Donors eager to move on from Mr Trump may start to fantasize – perhaps this is not the way to go,” he told the Guardian. The New York Times.
Trump has repeatedly derided DeSantis’ portrayal of the governor as a puppet of wealthy Republican elites
Trump seems to enjoy trolling his poll numbers against DeSantis and President Joe Biden
DeSantis’ poll numbers seem to have slipped against Trump in recent weeks with 58% supporting Trump compared to just 21% who support DeSantis.
Last month, DeSantis called Russia’s war in Ukraine a “territorial conflict.”
He has since retracted the comments after criticism from a number of fellow Republicans who expressed concern about such dismissive characterization of the conflict.
These statements may serve to show how DeSantis still has some way to go when it comes to developing his political skills in order to make the transition from being a state governor to being a presidential candidate.
While Trump has officially been in the presidential race since November, DeSantis as his biggest rival has yet to officially announce a bid for the White House.
DeSantis won another term in the Florida governor’s mansion in November by a margin of nearly 20 points in a state that has in the past been torn between Democrats and Republicans.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is pictured making his first trip to early-voting Iowa in March. It would be difficult for him to use the dollars raised in Florida for a national Republican campaign
Trump has repeatedly derided DeSantis’ portrayal of the governor as a puppet of wealthy Republican elites.
Such attacks by Trump bring home the political reality that no matter how much money DeSantis has, he still has to overcome enthusiasm among supporters of the former president.
Trump’s appeal is so popular that his campaign announced it had raised $12 million after news of his indictment last week.
DeSantis will now also have to foster relationships with millionaire donors and fund-raisers in Republican politics across the country.
Although it’s still exceptionally early in the campaign cycle, DeSantis has opted for rallies rather than fundraising dinners where he sometimes looks uncomfortable.
Longtime Republican strategist Mike Murphy wonders if his political skills are lagging behind.
“There are questions in Republican circles about DeSantis’ candidate skills — can he go from being the governor of a Republican state, where she’s on people’s TV, to the microscope of New Hampshire and Iowa?” Murphy said New York times.
despite of DeSantis’ nine-figure $110 million looks impressive, and big-dollar fundraising doesn’t always translate into victory.
Donors and strategists cite the examples of former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and former Governor Jeb Bush of Florida as warnings.
Bush was one of the first candidates to raise more than $100 million prior to his run in 2016 only for his run to fail early on.
There are several months before the primaries kick off in early 2024, but DeSantis will have to make a decision before Trump runs away with the GOP nomination for a third time.