112 million reasons why Donald Trump should be nervous about Ron DeSantis

$112 million! That’s an absolutely staggering number, even in a state like Florida, where it takes a lot of money to run for office. For context, DeSantis raised $59 million and spent $52 million in his 2018 victory over Democrat Andrew Gillum.

And if you think DeSantis’ fundraiser is about his upcoming re-election run, well, that’s just not true. Or, at least, it doesn’t paint the full picture of what’s going on here.

Yes, DeSantis will likely spend a lot of money in his 2022 race. But whether he faces former Governor Charlie Crist or state agriculture commissioner Nikki Fried in the general election, DeSantis will be the clear frontrunner.

The huge amount of money he has is therefore best understood as a show of strength for the rest of the potential 2024 Republican presidential field – up to and including Donald Trump.

To be clear: If Trump shows up, he’ll likely lead the field — whether or not he includes DeSantis — in fundraising. Trump’s small donor base is unmatched and no one will be able to build on what the former president has already established by 2024.

Additionally, fundraising rules in Florida are more lax than they are federally, which means that just assuming DeSantis can raise similar (or more) amounts if he shows up at the presidency is a bit of a comparison between apples and oranges.

Even with those caveats, $112 million is still $112 million. And polls show DeSantis clearly standing as Trump’s second choice in the 2024 field and, if the former president decides not to run, as the frontrunner in that field. (Also, not for nothing, Tesla billionaire Elon Musk told Twitter users that he was leaning towards DeSantis for 2024.)

You can be sure that Trump is paying attention.

Last fall, Trump dismissed DeSantis. “If I faced him, I would beat him like I would beat everyone,” Trump said at the time. “I think most people would give up; I think he would give up.”
Now Trump seems to be taking DeSantis more seriously. As Rolling Stone reported this week:

“Donald Trump in recent months has told confidants that he may launch his 2024 presidential campaign sooner — and is considering launching it in Florida to stick it with Governor Ron DeSantis. …

“People who have spoken to Trump say one of the reasons he is watching the Sunshine State is to assert dominance over an ascendant DeSantis, who — if they both show up in 2024 — would likely be the contender. the most formidable former president in a primary to fight for the GOP nomination One of the sources said Trump’s motivation was to show the governor “who’s boss” in today’s GOP ‘today’.

Point: DeSantis’ fundraising chops will likely only inflame Trump — and perhaps bump up his timeline to announce his 2024 candidacy to end (or reduce) the momentum the Florida governor clearly has.

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Post expires at 12:53am on Sunday June 26th, 2022