Financial Woes for Ron DeSantis as Expenditures Outpace Fundraising in 2024 Presidential Race

Financial Troubles Emerge for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis as 2024 Presidential Race Heats Up

In the realm of fundraising for the 2024 presidential race, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis seems to be facing some underlying concerns. Despite an impressive total of $20 million in funds raised, DeSantis’ high spending rate and reliance on large donors suggest a lack of grassroots support. On the other hand, former President Donald J. Trump’s campaign has recorded $17.7 million in fundraising, the majority of which was transferred from another committee that has yet to disclose its donors. Meanwhile, President Biden, his joint fundraising committee, and the Democratic National Committee have raised nearly as much money as all the Republican candidates combined.

While some Republican contenders like Nikki Haley, former South Carolina governor and United Nations ambassador, have solid support and well-established campaign operations, warning signs extend beyond DeSantis. Former Vice President Mike Pence brought in a meager $1.2 million in contributions, raising doubts about his ability to secure significant backing within the party. Additionally, there are self-funded candidates whose campaigns will last as long as they are willing to spend their own fortunes — and for now, they are certainly spending a substantial amount.

Here are some key takeaways from the recent filings, which provide details on fundraising and spending from April 1 to June 30.

DeSantis heavily relies on big-money donations, and he’s spending it quickly. Within six weeks of entering the race, DeSantis raised $19.7 million, with $16.9 million coming from contributions over $200. This underscores his dependence on significant contributions. Furthermore, DeSantis has been quick to spend the money he has raised. His filings show that his campaign spent nearly $7.9 million during this period, with sizable amounts allocated towards travel, payroll, digital fundraising consulting, media placement, and postage. With a burn rate of about 40 percent, DeSantis’s spending is comparatively high among other Republican candidates.

As for Trump, while he leads in Republican candidate polls and possesses substantial financial resources, the exact amount of cash in his war chest remains unclear. His campaign’s filing shows total receipts of $17.7 million, largely consisting of transfers from his joint fundraising committee. The rest of the reported $35 million is yet to be disclosed, as the joint fundraising committee’s report is not due until the end of the month. Speculation is mounting that Trump has directed more money from the committee to his political action committee, which has been utilized to cover his legal expenses.

Bringing up the rear of the Republican field are former Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, who raised approximately $500,000, and Will Hurd, a former Texas congressman, who only raised $270,000. Although these long-shot candidates were not expected to amass significant funds, the meager $1.2 million in contributions reported by former Vice President Mike Pence comes as a surprise. Pence has spent only $74,000 to date, raising questions about whether he has fulfilled the requirement of obtaining 40,000 unique donors to be eligible for the Republican debate stage on August 23.

Self-funded candidates are also burning through their cash reserves. For instance, Governor Doug Burgum of North Dakota, a wealthy former software engineer, raised $1.5 million in contributions and loaned $10 million to his campaign. His expenses last quarter amounted to over $8.1 million, including a striking $6 million on advertising. Another candidate, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, reported $2.3 million in contributions and took out $5 million in personal loans. Since entering the race in February, Ramaswamy has lent his campaign $15.25 million and pledged to spend $100 million of his own fortune. His spending during the second quarter exceeded $8 million, with significant amounts allocated to media placement and travel.

In contrast, President Biden’s campaign retains its small-scale operation. By the end of June, Biden’s re-election effort employed merely four individuals. While the Democratic National Committee reported a combined $77 million in cash on hand at the end of June, the Biden campaign plans to outsource a substantial portion of its activities to the national committee, relying heavily on officials at the White House and within the DNC.

As the 2024 presidential race continues to unfold, financial indicators provide valuable insights into the candidates’ strategies and levels of support. While some contenders face financial troubles and greater reliance on big donors, others demonstrate a stable grassroots backing. Ultimately, fundraising prowess will play a critical role in determining the viability of each candidate’s campaign.