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


It’s going to be very expensive for Ron DeSantis to show up in person to collect political checks: around $1 million.

That’s the aggressive goal set to get Florida’s governor and likely 2024 presidential candidate to travel for fundraising events, according to three Republicans involved in efforts to raise money for DeSantis during the phantom primary period.

“If they’re ever going to be in town, they’ll do it for $500,000,” said a GOP operative who attributed the target numbers to a longtime financier of DeSantis’ political campaigns. “If you want him to go there independently, it’s around $1 million.”

Organizers of a spring fundraising event for DeSantis in a mid-size city have been asked to raise $1 million, according to a person familiar with the planning.

Numbers may be less important than the political truth they represent. DeSantis is in such high demand that donors are lining up to give him money rather than waiting for him to beg for it, allowing him to raise the bar to the level of a president or vice president in exercise.

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

While DeSantis is attracting the attention of many Republican donors and has firmly established himself in second place in national polls, four recent surveys have shown him trailing former President Donald Trump by 30 percentage points and just eight points. percentage.

Still, DeSantis, who hosted a donors’ retreat last weekend in Palm Beach, looks like a fundraising juggernaut at this early stage in the process.

DeSantis is on “big cotton,” said a longtime GOP fundraiser, referring to the governor’s success so far. The fundraiser recalled that Mike Pence, another potential 2024 candidate, had a goal of $500,000 when he was vice president. This fundraiser confirmed the numbers and noted that the specific peg for Florida-based DeSantis events is half a million dollars.

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

“The governor’s fundraising activity generated between $10 million and $10 million,” the person said. “It is patently false to assert that there are required thresholds for governor participation.”

Longtime political operatives say such goals are rarely set in stone because it’s hard to make sure everyone who promises to make a contribution shows up and writes a check. In practical terms, this means that event organizers try to demonstrate to a politician’s aides that they can deliver on their promises — usually through their own track records and those of potential donors — in order to stay on schedule.

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

As governor, and as a congressman before that, DeSantis appeared at fundraising events for well under half a million dollars.

His statewide Friends of Ron DeSantis committee has raised millions of dollars in recent weeks — including five contributions ranging from $1 million to $2.5 million from individual donors — but he hasn’t organized a fundraising events.

Allies insist DeSantis is focused on Florida government, not preparing for a presidential campaign.

At the same time, DeSantis is hitting the television circuit and traveling the country to promote his book, which was released on Tuesday. A new tax-exempt group emerged last week to sponsor his speeches to police groups in New York and suburban Philadelphia and Chicago. And Republican money consolidators are trying to organize fundraising events for him all over the country.

Brendan Steinhauser, a Texas-based GOP consultant, said it was unusual for a potential presidential candidate to command such large sums so soon. But he pointed to the popular movement toward DeSantis as well as polls that have consistently put DeSantis within striking distance of Trump than the rest of the field.

“If you’re more of a transactional giver, you kind of think, ‘I want to get on the list early on for someone who 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 primary and the overall. They think he can be Trump – in some cases they want him to be Trump – so they don’t cover themselves.”

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