ELECTIONS

DeSantis raised $20 million in second quarter, campaign says

Jul 7, 2023, 7:00 AM

Republican presidential candidate and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at a campaign event in R...

Republican presidential candidate and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at a campaign event in Rochester, New Hampshire, U.S., June 1. DeSantis’s presidential campaign raised $20 million during the second fundraising quarter that ended June 30, the campaign announced Thursday. Photo credit: Brian Snyder/Reuters

(CNN) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s presidential campaign raised $20 million during the second fundraising quarter that ended June 30, the campaign announced Thursday.

The Republican governor launched his bid for the White House in late May, meaning his campaign raised the funds over a span of six weeks.

The announcement by the DeSantis campaign comes as former President Donald Trump’s team revealed Wednesday that it brought in $35 million during the second quarter, which was split between Trump’s presidential campaign and his leadership PAC.

DeSantis’ campaign touted its fundraising haul as “the largest first-quarter filing from any non-incumbent Republican candidate in more than a decade.”

Never Back Down, a super PAC supporting DeSantis’ presidential effort, has brought in $130 million since launching in March, a spokesman for the group said Thursday.

The super PAC, which has spent heavily to promote DeSantis to voters in early-voting states and to build the campaign infrastructure to back his candidacy, has not disclosed how much money it has remaining in the bank as the GOP nomination battle heats up. Fox News first reported the super PAC’s fundraising figure.

A substantial amount of the money Never Back Down has collected came from a state committee tied to DeSantis. CNN has previously reported that a Florida political committee once controlled by DeSantis transferred $82.5 million to Never Back Down in May.

Steve Cortes, a spokesman for Never Back Down, acknowledged earlier this week that the Florida governor was “way behind” in national polling and is “fighting uphill” to defeat Trump in the 2024 primary. But Cortes said he remained optimistic about DeSantis’ prospects.

“I don’t think it’s an unwinnable battle by any stretch,” he said.

More details about DeSantis’ fundraising figures – how much is available for his primary campaign versus a potential general election race, his cash on hand, and how much has been spent – will be available when his campaign files a complete report with the Federal Election Commission by July 15.

Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, environmental lawyer and anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s presidential campaign announced Thursday that it had raised more than $6 million in the April-to-June fundraising quarter, ending June 30 with roughly $3 million in the bank.

The campaign, which kicked off in April, said it took in $3 million of that total within a three-day period at the end of the quarter. Kennedy is challenging President Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination. Biden’s reelection campaign is yet to announce its second-quarter fundraising numbers.

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DeSantis raised $20 million in second quarter, campaign says