DeSantis Puts 'Failure to Launch' Narrative to Bed With Stunning 24-Hour Haul

AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

Ron DeSantis’ 2024 campaign launch ran into a few glitches on Wednesday evening, but it wasn’t long before he hit his stride. After spending 75 minutes talking policy with Elon Musk, the Florida man shifted over to do primetime interviews with Mark Levin and Trey Gowdy before holding a tele-town hall with voters. He’s scheduled to cap his roll-out off in Iowa on Tuesday with an in-person rally at a baseball stadium.

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Still, the headlines from the mainstream press weren’t kind to DeSantis. Many proclaimed his launch to be a “disaster,” with some going so far as to claim his campaign was already over. Well, that narrative was firmly put to bed after the 24-hour donation numbers were released for the newly-minted DeSantis campaign.

In a stunning, record-setting haul, $8.2 million was raised in just a single day, and that’s exactly why you should always be skeptical of what the press says (The New York Times).

Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida raised $8.2 million in his first 24 hours as a presidential candidate, his campaign said on Thursday, a huge sum that cements his standing as the leading rival to Donald J. Trump.

Mr. DeSantis’s campaign began on Wednesday evening with a glitch-filled kickoff on Twitter, but that apparently did not slow donor enthusiasm. The campaign said on Wednesday that it had raised $1 million during a single hour.

The $8.2 million figure is more than the $6.3 million that Joseph R. Biden Jr. raised in his first 24 hours as a candidate in 2019, or the $6.1 million haul raised by former Representative Beto O’Rourke that same year.

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Besting Biden’s formerly-record-setting total by $1.9 million is no small feat. It’s also important to remember that campaign donations are capped at a fairly low amount, unlike donations to Super PACs where big-time donors like to send their money. That means that almost all of that $8.2 million would have to have come from normal, small-dollar donors around the country. There’s no way to spin that other than being impressive.

Does that mean DeSantis is going to romp his way through the primary? I have no idea, and I think that’s a perfectly good answer at this point in the campaign. Anyone telling you with any certainty what will happen is just telling you what they want to believe. We are seven months out from the first primary and there’s a ton that can change between now and then. In fact, history would suggest that we should all be ready for some surprises as we head into the fall.

For now, the candidates will be doing their best to get their message out there and to draw support. I think that’s what DeSantis’ huge fundraising total amounts to right now. It’s evidence that his candidacy is the real deal (you can’t fake small-dollar donations) and that he’s going to draw a lot of interest going forward. He’ll also have the resources to implement the infrastructure needed to compete. What that amounts to in the end will be decided when voters have their say. I’m comfortable with that arrangement.

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