Do the Democrats have any chance of beating DeSantis?
The numbers for May are in, and on June 13 they showed that in May 2021, Governor Ron DeSantis raised $10.2 million for his political campaign fund. For context, that's the same as Republican-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist has raised in total since launching his campaign for Governor of Florida. It reaffirmed once again that Ron DeSantis seems to be worthy of the nickname awarded by Fox News last month: the '$100 million man'.
Based on the amount of money in their campaign war-chests alone it begs the question whether any of the Democratic challengers really stand a chance against DeSantis? In May, Charlie Crist raised $1 million - the same he managed to raise in April. Nikki Fried managed to raise just over $302,000 from donors and supporters.
DeSantis - fundraising on a different scale
Some of the money raised by the DeSantis campaign machine will have come from smaller donors. This includes money from those who've bought some of his range of merchandise that includes golf balls (sold in pairs), t-shirts branded in association with the song 'Sweet Florida' recorded by the Van Zant Brothers, or those who've purchased one of the limited edition baseball cards featuring the governor's own image.
It's notable though, that DeSantis also has a number of high-profile, high net-worth supporters who've recently donated large sums of money to his campaign. His largest donor in 2021 was Ken Griffin, the CEO of Citadel Investment Group who donated $5 million to the DeSantis organization. It was recently reported that DeSantis can count 42 billionaires amongst his donors, including Julia Koch and Edward DeBartolo Jr.
Meanwhile, the governor's Democratic rivals seem to rely heavily on pleas via social media for their supporters to 'chip in' a few dollars in support:
Ambitions beyond the gubernatorial election?
The $10.2 million raised in May brings the DeSantis total fund to over $124 million - and it's a further sign (if one were needed) that he has aspirations beyond winning the 2022 gubernatorial election.
A recent survey carried out at the Western Conservative Summit - amongst Republican voters far away from Florida - put DeSantis far in the lead from former president Donald Trump at 71% to 67% as the preferred Republican presidential candidate. Three weeks earlier, DeSantis also beat Trump in a straw poll carried out in Wisconsin.
Both DeSantis and Trump are yet to formally declare themselves as candidates for that election. But there's a growing sense that with the amount of financial backing that DeSantis has already mustered, and his popularity amongst Republicans across the U.S., there could be a good chance of him running for the White House.
Meanwhile, as donors continue to flock to DeSantis with financial support, his Democratic challengers may find themselves wondering what they need to do to level the playing field.
Are you surprised at the amount of money DeSantis has raised compared to Fried and Crist? Do you believe that elections should come down to which candidate can raise the most money? Let me know in the comments section below.
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