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Ron DeSantis sets $1 million goal for donor events ahead of 2024 offer


Mar 3, 2023

It’s going to take a lot to get Ron DeSantis to show up in person to cash political checks: about $1 million.

That’s the aggressive goal set to lure the Florida governor and likely 2024 presidential candidate to travel out of his way for fundraisers, according to three Republicans involved in efforts to raise money for DeSantis during the primary period. in the shadow.

“If they’re going to be in town already, they’re going to be in town for $500,000,” said a Republican operative who attributed the target numbers to a longtime financier of DeSantis’ political campaigns. «If you want it to come out independently, it’s around $1 million.»

Organizers of a spring fundraiser for DeSantis in a midsize city have been told to raise $1 million, according to a person familiar with the planning.

The numbers may be less consequential than the political truth they represent. DeSantis is in such high demand that donors line up to give him money rather than wait for him to ask, allowing him to set the bar at the level of a sitting president or vice president.

“For a general election candidate and a non-incumbent, those are big numbers, but not for DeSantis, because I wouldn’t be surprised if in his first month he’d already made a couple hundred million,” said Robert Wolf, who hosted events fundraising. President Barak Obama.

While DeSantis is capturing the attention of many Republican donors and has clearly established himself in second place in national polls, four recent polls they have shown him trailing former President Donald Trump by as much as 30 percentage points and as low as eight percentage points.

Still, DeSantis, who held a donor retreat last weekend in Palm Beach, has the look of a fundraising giant at this early stage in the process.

DeSantis is on «high cotton,» said a longtime Republican fundraiser, referencing the governor’s success thus far. The fundraiser recalled that the goal of Mike Pence, another possible candidate for 2024, it was $500,000 when he was vice president. This fundraiser confirmed the figures, noting that the specific fixing for the Florida-based DeSantis events is half a million dollars.

There is no set price tag, said a person familiar with DeSantis’ fundraising operation.

“The governor’s fundraising activity has generated everything from $10 to $10 million,” this person said. «It is demonstrably false to assert that there are required thresholds for governor involvement.»

Longtime political operatives say these targets are rarely set in stone because it’s hard to make sure everyone who promises to make a contribution actually shows up and writes a check. In practical terms, that means event organizers try to demonstrate to a politician’s attendees that they can deliver, usually through their own backgrounds and those of potential donors, to stick to the schedule.

«It’s a dance between the finance staff and the host of the event,» said Pia Carusone, a veteran Democratic strategist who has held senior positions in House and Senate campaigns.

As governor, and before that as a congressman, DeSantis has appeared at fundraisers for far less than half a million dollars.

His statewide Committee of Friends of Ron DeSantis has received millions of dollars in recent weeks, including five contributions ranging from $1 million to $2.5 million from individual donors, but he has held no fundraising events.

Allies insist DeSantis is focused on running Florida, not planning a presidential campaign.

At the same time, DeSantis is hitting the television circuit and traveling the country to promote his book, which was published Tuesday. A new tax-exempt group appeared last week to sponsor his speeches to police groups in New York and suburban Philadelphia and Chicago. And the Republican money baggers are trying to organize fundraisers across the country for him.

Brendan Steinhauser, a Texas-based Republican Party consultant, said it was unusual for a potential presidential candidate to raise such large amounts of dollars so early. But he pointed to the grassroots movement toward DeSantis, as well as the polls that have consistently put DeSantis closer to Trump than the rest of the field.

«If you’re more of a transactional donor, you’re looking at it like, ‘I want to get to somebody early that I think is going to win,'» Steinhauser said. «That’s the most telling thing. They’re investing in this guy who they think can win the primaries and the generals. They think it can be Trump, in some cases they want it to be Trump, so they’re not covering up.»