2024 Watch: In the fundraising fight, Ron DeSantis is the $100 million man

2024 Watch: In the fundraising fight, Ron DeSantis is the $100 million man

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As he runs for re-election for a second term steering Florida, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has morphed into a fundraising behemoth.

The deadline to report March fundraising totals to Florida’s Secretary of State isn’t until Monday, but it’s already clear that the governor – through his re-election campaign and Friends of Ron DeSantis, his political committee – has already hauled in over $100 million so far in the 2022 cycle.

DESANTIS VS. DISNEY: WHAT’S AT STAKE

The massive fundraising total dwarfs the leading Democratic gubernatorial challengers hoping to face off and defeat the governor come November.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, US February 24, 2022.
(Reuters)

But the haul – which comes from some of the biggest and most powerful donors in the GOP as well as from small dollar grassroots contributions not only across Florida but from coast to coast – also sends a signal to the rest of the potential 2024 Republican presidential field of DeSantis’ popularity, influence, and strength should he launch a White House campaign.

Longtime Republican fundraiser and lobbyist David Tamasi told Fox News that there’s plenty of interest in DeSantis among the GOP money class

NO LET UP IN TRUMP’S FUNDRAISING PROWESS

“DeSantis continues to be a top draw with the high-end dollar market. The trick will be to translate an expected November win into a monopoly,” Tamasi said.

Former President Donald Trump remains the most prolific fundraiser in the Republican Party. His Save America political action committee has brought in over $125 million since its launch soon after the 2020 election, and had over $110 million in its coffers as of the end of February.

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally Saturday, Jan.  15, 2022, in Florence, Ariz.

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, in Florence, Ariz.
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

But just as he’s a solid number two to Trump and ahead of the rest of the field of other potential contenders in the early 2024 GOP presidential nomination polls, DeSantis is also firmly in second place in the campaign cash dash. The nonprofit and nonpartisan Ballotpedia spotlights that DeSantis has reported raising nearly $110 million, according to figures filed with the Florida Secretary of State.

TRUMP WINS CPAC 2024 STRAW POLL, WITH DESANTIS SECOND

Tamasi, who raised money for forming President Donald Trump in the 2016 and 2020 campaigns, noted that “any tier 1 presidential candidate must be able to demonstrate a robust fundraising capability with big donors and even more so now, small donors. We know Trump can raise from both and this haul shows DeSantis has the capability also.

DeSantis has seen his popularity surge among Republican voters in his state and around the nation over the past two years, thanks in large part to his combative pushback against COVID-19 restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic as well as his aggressive actions in the culture wars.

GOP Gov.  Ron DeSantis of Florida addresses the Republican Jewish Coalition's annual leadership meeting, on Nov. 6, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada

GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida addresses the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual leadership meeting, on Nov. 6, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada
(Fox News)

“I am standing my ground. I’m not backing down,” DeSantis emphasized last November as he spoke at a major confab of Republican leaders and activists. “We’ve done an awful lot in the state of Florida. We have a lot more to do, and I have only begun to fight.”

The governor has repeatedly deflected talk of a 2024 run, saying he’s concentrating on his 2022 gubernatorial reelection and telling Fox News that the next White House race is “way down the road. It’s not anything that I’m planning for.”

Pompeo’s 2024 deciding factors

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says any decision he makes on whether to run for the White House in the upcoming 2024 election cycle will be dependent on whether he believes “this is the moment” where he can best “serve America.”

And Pompeo, a former congressman from Kansas who served as CIA director and later as America’s top diplomat during the Trump administration, inferred in a Fox News interview in Manchester, New Hampshire on Thursday that his decision will not be dependent on whether his former boss or whomever else decides to jump into the next Republican presidential nomination race.

POMPEO HINTS PRESIDENTIAL RUN NOT DEPENDENT ON WHAT TRUMP DOES

Hours before Pompeo headlined the Hillsborough County GOP’s annual Lincoln Reagan fundraising dinner, Trump indicated in an interview with the Washington Post that if he launches a 2024 bid to try and return to the White House, it’s doubtful that Pompeo, former Vice President Mike Pence, and DeSantis would also run.

“If I ran, I can’t imagine they’d want to run. Some out of loyalty would have had a hard time running,” said Trump, who since leaving the White House over 14 months ago has repeatedly flirted with making another presidential bid.

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is joined at the Hillsborough County, New Hampshire GOP's annual Lincoln-Reagan fundraising dinner by county chair and RNC member Chris Ager, in Manchester, NH on April 7, 2022

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is joined at the Hillsborough County, New Hampshire GOP’s annual Lincoln-Reagan fundraising dinner by county chair and RNC member Chris Ager, in Manchester, NH on April 7, 2022
(FoxNews)

Asked about those comments and whether his own decision would be impacted by what Trump decides, Pompeo told Fox News, “The Pompeos have always used the simple fact of do you believe this is the moment where you think you can best serve America, this is the place you can have the most impact. That will be how we make our decision in the end.”

2024 PRELUDE: PENCE’S MOVES PREPARE FORMER VP FOR POSSIBLE WHITE HOUSE RUN

“It’s the right way to think about someone who puts themselves forward to the people of the United States to run for office, whether it’s president or back in home state Kansas,” he emphasized. “All of those things, they essentially turn on your belief that you’re the right person to sit in that place. And if you believe in that, you have an obligation to go do it.”

Will Haley’s 2022 NH trip pay dividends in 2024

On her first trip back to New Hampshire in a year and a half, former ambassador to United Nations Nikki Haley was laser focused in supporting Matt Mowers bid for Congress.

Form Ambassador to the United Nations and form South Carolina Gov.  Nikki Haley campaigns on behalf of GOP congressional candidate Matt Mowers of New Hampshire, at an event on April 4, 2022 in Derry, NH

Form Ambassador to the United Nations and form South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley campaigns on behalf of GOP congressional candidate Matt Mowers of New Hampshire, at an event on April 4, 2022 in Derry, NH
(FoxNews)

Haley, the former two-term South Carolina governor, headlined multiple events on Monday for Mowers, a former New Hampshire GOP executive director who later worked on Trump’s 2016 general election campaign before serving in the State Department during the former president’s first two years in office .

HALEY’S TRIP TO NEW HAMPSHIRE SERVES MULTIPLE PURPOSES

And the trip by Haley, whom pundits considered a potential 2024 GOP presidential hopeful, generated more buzz about her possible national ambitions.

Asked about 2024, Haley told Fox News “if we don’t win in 2022 there will be no ’24. That’s why we’re going around the country trying to make sure we do that.”

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As for her timetable, Haley said “I don’t have to make a decision until the first of next year. But I can tell you I’ve never lost a race. I’m not going to start now. I’ll put a thousand percent into it and finish it.”

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