Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been attracting national attention for his handling of the COVID pandemic and after taking different campaign trips across the country he has attracted some of the GOP’s biggest donors.
According to Friends of Ron DeSantis’ campaign documents, Kenneth Griffin, founder of Citadel, a Chicago-based hedge fund, as donated $5 million. David MacNeil, founder of WeatherTech, donated $500,000 in May, and Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus gave $250,000.
A number of other former President Donald J. Trump officials have thrown financial support DeSantis’ way.
Former U.S. Ambassador to France and Monaco Jamie McCourt and former Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft each donated between $10,000 and $50,000.
DeSantis also took advantage of launching a political merchandise website over the summer celebrating Florida’s “freedom over Faucism.”
— Christina Pushaw (@ChristinaPushaw) June 7, 2021
As recently as July, the fundraising disparities between DeSantis and his likely Democratic opponents, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D) and Congressman Charlie Crist (D-FL-13) were astronomical.
DeSantis raked in $4 million while Crist and Fried brought in approximately $400,000, combined.
— Grant Holcomb (@GrantAHolcomb) August 11, 2021
According to the Florida Department of State Division of Elections website, Crist has raised a total of $851,936 and Fried has raised $526,671 through July 31. August’s campaign finance activity has yet to be included in the totals.
Despite DeSantis’ large dollars donors, his network of grassroots, small-time donors is driving much of the cash being pulled in.
“The country is very divided right now on how to approach COVID, on how to approach Afghanistan, on the border crisis and illegal immigration,” said DeSantis fundraiser Nick Iarossi. “The country is very, very split. I think a lot of folks feel like they’re being spoon-fed one side through the media and through the Washington, D.C., political class. And the only guy that’s really standing up to give that opposing view and give the other side a voice is Ron DeSantis.”
According to recent polls, DeSantis’ approval rating has been slipping since the beginning of July, coinciding with the outbreak of COVID’s delta variant.
“The first-term Florida governor’s net approval rating – the share of voters who approve of his job performance minus the share who disapprove – has fallen 14 percentage points since the beginning of July, larger than the 7-point drop in sentiment about Abbott over the same time period,” said Morning Consult.
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