Ron DeSantis entered the 2024 Republican presidential primary as the biggest threat to unseat Donald Trump as the presumptive nominee. GOP voters seemed to like the Florida governor’s approach to the COVID pandemic and his approach to culture war topics.
However, DeSantis has since over-played his hand by waging a war with Disney and repeatedly stumbled on the campaign trail by showing his lack of talent at retail politics. (Siccing his security on a 15-year-old New Hampshire kid being one of his more recent missteps.) Now, the Florida governor is reportedly facing a donor exodus.
There were reports that at least one of DeSantis’ biggest backers has jumped ship for Chris Christie, but apparently, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. According to Politico, the governor is bleeding donors who are starting to shop around for better candidates. Only 16 of the 50 donors who gave to DeSantis’ 2022 re-election campaign have donated to his presidential super PAC Never Back Down, and at least one of those donors is turning towards Nikki Haley:
“I think he’s done a terrific job as governor of Florida, and I’ve been, as I think you know, a big supporter of him in that role,” Rauner said of DeSantis. But, he added, “I think Nikki Haley probably has the best chance to win the general election … I think everyone is trying to sort things out. We gotta win, we gotta win the general.”
Naturally, DeSantis campaign has offered its spin on the donor situation by highlighting that Never Back Down is sitting on a considerable war chest at the moment.
“Ron DeSantis outraised both Biden and Trump last quarter, and we continue to see overwhelming enthusiasm from grassroots and major supporters chipping in to help our campaign,” a DeSantis spokesperson told Politico. “We look forward to continued fundraising success this quarter as we capitalize on his strong debate performance and momentum in the early states.”