DeSantis raises over $100 million for reelection bid
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has raked in more than $100 million for his 2022 reelection campaign, a staggering fundraising haul that carries weight not only for his bid for a second term in the governor’s mansion but for any potential national political ambitions.
Between Jan. 1, 2021, and Dec. 31 of the same year, DeSantis pulled in nearly $109.7 million, according to fundraising records filed with the Florida secretary of state. Even more notable is that the money came entirely from donations, including a $6.6 million contribution from the Republican Governors Association and a $5 million gift from billionaire hedge fund manager Ken Griffin.
The massive 2021 haul puts DeSantis in the same league as national political heavyweights like former President Trump, who’s affiliated groups raised around $140 million in 2021.
And while DeSantis has repeatedly said that he’s focused only on his job as governor and his own reelection bid, the fundraising total is likely to drive speculation of a potential 2024 campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.
A former congressman who won the 2018 GOP nomination for Florida governor after scoring Trump’s endorsement, DeSantis has quickly emerged as a Republican superstar.
His laissez faire approach to the coronavirus pandemic over the past two years earned him praise from top conservatives, and he has made a name for himself as a combative opponent of Washington Democrats. His 2021 fundraising numbers suggest that his reputation has translated directly into financial support from conservative voters and major donors alike.
Of course, Trump is still considered the heavy favorite for the 2024 GOP nomination should he decide to mount another campaign — a possibility he has floated repeatedly since leaving office last year.
Nevertheless, DeSantis has emerged as a strong No. 2 in a hypothetical primary. Early polls show him running in second place behind Trump for the 2024 GOP nod, and in surveys that don’t include Trump, DeSantis is often in the lead.
For now, DeSantis’s top goal is winning a second term in the governor’s mansion. A handful of Democrats are campaigning to oust him this year, including Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.), state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and state Sen. Annette Taddeo.
Early polling, however, suggests DeSantis has little to worry about. A survey from the University of North Florida conducted in February found the incumbent governor leading Crist by 21 percentage points and Fried by 23 points.