Scoop: DeSantis taps new big donors for $2 million haul
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis raised $2 million for his presidential run in 48 hours this week, his campaign told Axios.
Why it matters: While former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley has been making inroads among big GOP donors, DeSantis continues to raise significant cash in the final weeks before the Iowa caucuses.
- The fundraisers also show DeSantis — who's pitching himself as the most viable Republican alternative to former President Trump — has managed to expand his high-dollar donor base after many of his donors had already maxed out, according to campaign finance records.
Driving the news: The five fundraisers were on DeSantis' home turf in Florida where donors were asked to donate up to $11,600 — split between a leadership political action committee, a fund for the primary and a fund for the general election.
- One fundraiser in Vero Beach, FL asked for $10,000 for a photo and access to a reception, according to an invitation obtained by Axios.
- A campaign spokesperson said that the "overwhelming majority" of the money raised was for the primary.
- DeSantis still has a Super PAC supporting him, Never Back Down.
What they're saying: Brad Martin, the vice chairman of FedEx and co-host of one of the fundraisers, said in a statement: "There is only one candidate this race who can actually win the presidency who also has the preparation, character, and courage to lead this country to a better future."
- "That is why I have been so enthusiastic about supporting him and why he continues to gain momentum with donors across the country."
Reality check: While DeSantis raised $15 million in the third quarter, he entered the fourth quarter with $5 million cash on hand that could be used in the primary, compared to Haley's $9.1 million and Trump's $36 million.
- In recent weeks, DeSantis has transferred staff and resources to Iowa in the hopes that a better than expected performance in the January 15 caucuses will be a springboard.
- Haley's debate performances and rising poll numbers — particularly in New Hampshire — have also prompted some of the Wall Street donor class to give her a second look.
- Trump remains the dominant favorite for the nomination, with all the other candidates vying to become the main alternative and possibly beat him one-on-one if the field winnows.