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2024 showdown: How DeSantis fared vs Trump in second quarter fundraising

Trump’s second quarter overall figure across all of his fundraising committees jumps the $9.5 million he raised from his mid-November launch through the end of last year and the nearly $19 million during the January-March first quarter of fundraising.

Trump is the current commanding front-runner in the latest GOP presidential nomination polls as he makes his third straight White House run. And his fundraising prowess appears to be an indicator that the former president’s mounting legal troubles have helped fuel his 2024 White House campaign. During the second quarter of fundraising this year, Trump became the first sitting or former president in U.S. history to be charged with a crime, as he was indicted and arraigned in New York City by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in April and again in June in federal court in Miami.

DeSantis is second in the polls, trailing Trump by double digits but ahead of the rest of the large field of GOP presidential contenders, who are polling in the single digits.

As noted, the Florida governor’s $20.1 million haul came during a six-week period, but nearly half – $8.2 million – came in the first 24 hours after DeSantis declared his candidacy.

And peeking past the top lines, only a small percentage of the cash DeSantis raised came from donors contributing less than $200, with much of his fundraising coming from top-dollar donors, some of whom have now maxed out and are prevented by Federal Election Commission rules from giving further contributions to the governor. Trump, by comparison, saw the lion’s share of his fundraising come from small-dollar, grassroots donations.

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DeSantis has also been burning through his campaign coffers at a quicker rate than Trump. The governor’s campaign spent $7.9 million in half the time that Trump’s team shelled out $9.1 million.

DeSantis and Trump
Republicans presidential candidates Gov. Ron DeSantis and former President Donald Trump (Getty Images)

Of course, both DeSantis and Trump are getting plenty of outside help from the top super PACs supporting their White House runs.

As first reported by Fox News earlier this month, the pro-DeSantis super PAC Never Back Down is expected to report raising $130 million since forming in March, when it files its report with the FEC. A significant portion of Never Back Down’s fundraising – roughly $82 million – was money transferred to the super PAC in June from a Florida based political committee affiliated with the governor. The funds were originally raised to support DeSantis’ 2022 gubernatorial re-election.

Never Back Down has been building what appears in many ways to be a shadow campaign to assist DeSantis in campaigning, voter outreach and messaging. Like all super PACs, it’s prevented by federal rules from coordinating with the campaign.

Trump compliments Republican presidential candidates, weighs in on VP pickVideo
MAGA Inc., the principal super PAC support Trump’s presidential campaign, has yet to reveal their second quarter fundraising figures ahead of their FEC filing.

Asked about the onslaught of negative campaign stories he’s faced in recent weeks, DeSantis reiterated in an interview on Fox News’ “Media Buzz” with host Howard Kurtz on Sunday, “I think clearly you see an effort to create these narratives. I think the good thing about it is Republican primary voters are very smart. They know where these corporate outlets stand on the political spectrum.”

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And with six months to go until the start of the GOP nominating calendar, DeSantis saw a silver lining, arguing that if Republican voters “become convinced that the media does not want me to be the nominee above all else, that will, in the long run, absolutely help me.”

DeSantis also touted that he not only topped Trump in second quarter fundraising but “we raised more money than Joe Biden did in the second quarter.”

President Biden’s 2024 campaign brought in $19.9 million in the second quarter, trailing where Trump and then-President Barack Obama were at this point in their re-election cycles.

Biden waving
The Democratic National Committee voted earlier this month to overwhelmingly approve a new top of the calendar pushed by President Biden that upends the traditional schedule. (Anna Moneymaker)

But combined with the Democratic National Committee, Biden hauled in $72 million. And the Biden re-election campaign and the DNC had $77 million cash on hand as of the end of the second quarter.

Biden’s team spotlighted that their total came from nearly 400,000 donors, and that 97% contributions were under $200 and more than 30% of donors were first time contributors to the president.

The president appears to be running a very lean re-election campaign, spending only $1.1 million in the second quarter.

Biden’s top primary challenger, environmental activist and high-profile vaccine skeptic Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., brought in nearly $6.4 million for the quarter, with $4.5 million in his campaign coffers as of the end of June.

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