DeSantis campaign reports $20 million in fundraising across first six weeks

by | Jul 6, 2023

  • Gov. Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign raised $20 million in its first six weeks, making it the largest first fundraising quarter for a non-incumbent Republican candidate in over a decade.
  • DeSantis outpaced former President Donald Trump’s combined fundraising in the fourth quarter of 2022 and the first quarter of 2023, which amounted to $3.8 million and $14.5 million, respectively.
  • A significant portion of DeSantis’ fundraising, $8.2 million, came within the first 24 hours of his campaign’s official announcement.

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign announced on Thursday that it raised $20 million within the first six weeks of its operations, serving as the largest first fundraising quarter of any non-incumbent Republican candidate in more than a decade.

In issuing the announcement, DeSantis’ campaign highlighted that its first-quarter filing outpaced the combined fundraising of former President Donald Trump through both the fourth quarter of 2022 and the first quarter of 2023, which totaled $3.8 million and $14.5 million, respectively.

“[The fundraising total] bests the $18.3 million former president and quasi-incumbent Donald Trump’s campaign raised during its first two fundraising quarters as a candidate,” said Ron DeSantis for President in a statement.

A significant portion of DeSantis’ fundraising came within the first 24 hours of his campaign’s official announcement, with the governor raising $8.2 million, according to members of his staff.

“We are grateful for the investment so many Americans have made to get this country back on track,” said campaign manager Generra Peck. “The fight to save it will be long and challenging, but we have built an operation to share the governor’s message and mobilize the millions of people who support it. We are ready to win.”

DeSantis, widely considered to be the primary Republican rival to Trump, easily clinched reelection in 2022 with the help of a well-funded state political committee. En route to a nearly 20-point margin of victory over Democrat challenger Charlie Crist, he raised more than $225 million, out of which $82.5 million was transferred to his national campaign.

In a separate statement, DeSantis told Fox News that Never Back Down, his Super PAC, has accumulated close to $130 million. However, much of that sum is propped behind the shifting of gubernatorial funds, which drew campaign ethics questioning.

The Campaign Legal Center (CLC), an elections watchdog, filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) in May regarding DeSantis’ campaign finances. The filing claimed that DeSantis — who engaged in a weeks-long speaking tour earlier this year — became a candidate before the formal commencement of his campaign and was not bound by Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) provisions.

CLC contended that the then-unconfirmed transfer of funds between PACs violates a ban on “soft money” – funds raised in circumstances where federal campaign finance laws don’t apply — due to the money that Friends of Ron DeSantis raised not being subject to federal contribution limits, source prohibitions, and reporting requirements.

“Soft money undermines federal campaign finance laws because it is, by definition, money raised and spent outside the scope of those laws,” wrote Brendan Quinn, who serves as CLC’s Senior Communications Manager for Campaign Finance and Ethics issues. “In order to give voters real power and prevent wealthy special interests from rigging the system in their favor, the FEC must act and hold those responsible accountable.”

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