WASHINGTON, Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis raised $20 million in the second quarter of the year, his campaign said on Thursday, a sign that the Florida governor’s challenge to former President Donald Trump remains viable despite recent struggles.
By comparison, Trump’s main fundraising committee took in about $35 million in the second quarter even as the former president’s legal troubles mounted, a sizeable increase from the previous quarter.
“We are grateful for the investment so many Americans have made to get this country back on track,” DeSantis’ campaign manager, Generra Peck, said in a statement.
The primary super PAC backing DeSantis’ bid, Never Back Down, which handles many on-the-ground operations in early voting states, said separately on Thursday it had brought in $130 million since its formation in March.
The haul appeared to include just over $80 million that the committee received in May from a committee tied to DeSantis’ re-election effort in the 2022 Florida gubernatorial campaign.
Campaign finance experts have argued that the transfer may have flouted campaign-finance rules that require super PACs to be independent of the candidates they support.
MAGA Inc, the Trump counterpart to DeSantis’ Never Back Down, has yet to disclose how much money it has raised this year. But last year it received $60 million from another committee tied to Trump.
DeSantis’ fundraising tally in the six weeks since he launched his campaign suggests a significant share of Republican donors are seeking an alternative to Trump in the party primary that begins early next year. The nominee will face President Joe Biden in November 2024.
Even so, DeSantis largely has been unable to slice into Trump’s commanding lead in early polls, which have had the former president ahead by as many as 30 percentage points.
by James Oliphant