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DeSantis pulls in millions from former Trump donors ahead of November election

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has pulled in millions of dollars for his re-election bid from former donors of President Donald Trump — a possible sign that some Trump supporters are looking for other candidates in the 2024 presidential race, according to a report.

A weekend Politico analysis of campaign finance data found that at least 10 donors who spent $24 million on Trump’s reelection bid in 2020 have since donated approximately $3.4 million to the Republican governor’s political committee, Friends of Ron Desantis. 

The analysis found that many of the high-profile donors had never contributed in state-level Florida elections. Those who had provided funds to the sunshine state massively increased their dollar donations. 

Specifically, some of the donors include William Buckley, who has given the governor $1 million since DeSantis’ 2018 campaign; Richard Uihlein, who supported DeSantis with a $1.2 million donation this year – drastically up from the $700,000 he contributed in 2018; Home Depot founder Bernie Marcus, who has donated $500,000; as well as Steven Witkoff and Willis Johnson who both have contributed $100,000 each. 

Multiple donors who backed Trump heavily in 2020 – including Kelcy Warren, Larry Garatoni, and Geoffrey Palmer – have also donated to DeSantis in this past year ranging from $20,000 to $50,000 contributions, according to the Sunday report. 

Former President Trump said that he believes he would be beat the Florida Governor if he decides to run.
Doug Mills/The New York Times/Pool/Getty Images

The donations come as DeSantis faces reelection in November. In this election cycle so far, the governor has raised over $100 million. 

Though, he has been frequently weighed as a top GOP contender for president in 2024 – if the former president forgos a run. 

While Trump is not expected to announce a decision on a presidential bid until after the midterm elections, he has repeatedly hinted at another run – and remains convinced he could win if he chose to. 

“I don’t know if Ron is running, and I don’t ask him,” the 45th president told The New Yorker in a Monday report. “It’s his prerogative. I think I would win.” 

Despite the confidence, many Republicans believe DeSantis has a shot at the Oval Office. 

“I think Ron’s fundraising really speaks for itself,” longtime Republican donor and former Florida congressman Francis Rooney told Politico. 

“It is possible Trump’s percentage of Republicans keeps going down and I think it’s possible people will start looking elsewhere.” 

Earlier this month, a straw poll of the 2024 presidential candidates at the Western Conservative Summit found DeSantis on top of the former president. 

The governor received 74% approval from the attendees, compared to Trump’s 71%. The next closest potential GOP contender was Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) at 29%.

Still, the Trump campaign is not fazed. 

Spokesperson Taylor Budowich told Politico on Sunday that “like other candidates who have been propelled to victory thanks to the endorsement of President Trump, Governor DeSantis is among a large group of elected officials from across the country who continue to benefit from President Trump’s MAGA movement.”

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