(The Center Square) – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis posted the best first fundraising quarter of any non-incumbent Republican candidate in over a decade, according to campaign finance data.
The DeSantis for President campaign raised $20 million in six weeks, surpassing the amount the Trump campaign raised during its first two fundraising quarters combined.
“The campaign’s haul is the largest first-quarter filing from any non-incumbent Republican candidate in more than a decade,” DeSantis’ campaign announced in a news release on Thursday. “It bests the $18.3 million former president and quasi-incumbent Donald Trump’s campaign raised during its first two fundraising quarters as a candidate,” citing $3.8 million raised in Q4 2022 and nearly $14.5 million raised in Q1 2023, according to campaign finance data filed with the Federal Election Commission.
“Joe Biden’s leftist policies are destroying the country, and Republicans are excited to invest in a winner ready to lead America’s revival,” DeSantis for President campaign manager Generra Peck said. “We are grateful for the investment so many Americans have made to get this country back on track. The fight to save it will be long and challenging, but we have built an operation to share the governor’s message and mobilize the millions of people who support it. We are ready to win.”
Campaigns are due to report fundraising data to the Federal Election Commission by July 15. Trump’s campaign reported raising $35 million in the second quarter but had double the amount of time that DeSantis’ campaign had since entering the race on May 24.
The Never Back Down super PAC supporting DeSantis’ campaign has raised $130 million since March, the Sarasota Herald Tribune reported, including “$82.5 million transferred from DeSantis’ former state political committee, part of the record-breaking fundraising for his re-election campaign.”
The Campaign Legal Center, run by a Trump supporter, filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission claiming DeSantis’ campaign violated campaign finance laws by transferring money to two different PACs and was using money donated by Trump supporters “against them,” Newsweek reported.
Of the $20 million DeSantis’ campaign raised, $8.2 million was raised within the first 24 hours of launching his campaign, ABC News reported. This surpassed the $6.3 million candidate Vice President Joe Biden raised in the first 24 hours after he launched his presidential campaign in 2019.
Trump remains the frontrunner among registered voters, according to numerous polls.
According to a June Eschelon Insights poll, Trump has a 39% favorability rating compared to DeSantis’ 36%. In four randomized scored hypothetical votes, if the 2024 presidential election were held at the time of the survey, Biden beat Trump in one vote by 1% and Trump beat Biden in three separate votes each time by 2%.
The poll also found in a DeSantis-Biden matchup, Biden defeated DeSantis by a vote of 45% to 42%. In a Trump-DeSantis primary, Trump trounced DeSantis by a vote of 60% to 32%.
The findings are consistent with a July 2022 Eschelon survey. If Trump weren’t running for president, DeSantis was the overwhelming choice of voters, the survey found, including among “Trump-first” Republicans and “Party-first” Republicans. The survey also paired the two with Trump leading by double-digits last year.
According to a July Newsweek YouGov/Economist survey, DeSantis has combined 35% favorability rating compared to Trump’s 39%.
If the 2024 presidential election were held today, the pluraliity of those polled said they’d vote for a Democratic Party candidate over a Republican Party candidate by a vote of 39% to 36%.
According to a RealClear Politics 2024 Republican Presidential Nomination polling average, Trump has 53% support compared to DeSantis’ 20.9%. All of the eight other GOP candidates have single digit support ranging from 6.1% to 0.1%. Trump’s spread is over 32 points.
Among the polls cited, Fox News has Trump defeating DeSantis by 34 points, Harvard-Harris has him winning by 45 points, CNN by 21 points.
The outlier is a June Marquette University Law School poll, which has Trump leading DeSantis by only one percentage point, 31% to 30%, with a margin of error of +/-4.3%.
“Among Republicans and independents who lean Republican, the GOP presidential primary is a near-even divide,” the poll states. “If the election were held today and DeSantis were the GOP nominee against Biden, it would be a very close race, with 49% for Biden, 47% for DeSantis, and 4% declining to choose. Biden has a materially larger lead over Trump in a hypothetical matchup, with 52% for Biden to Trump’s 43% and 4% undecided.”
By Bethany Blankley | The Center Square contributor