Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a prominent conservative figure, is facing challenges in garnering the support of some of his top donors for his 2024 presidential bid, as they remain hesitant or shift their donations to other candidates. According to Politico, only 16 out of 50 major donors who contributed to DeSantis’s 2022 gubernatorial campaign have donated to his super PAC, Never Back Down, which supports his 2024 run. Additionally, only eight others have directly contributed to his presidential campaign.
Several donors expressed concerns about DeSantis’s campaign positions, contending that they are not moderate enough. One significant setback for DeSantis was when hotel and aerospace executive Robert Bigelow, the largest individual contributor to Never Back Down and DeSantis’s reelection campaign, stated that he would withhold further donations until the governor adopted more moderate policies and demonstrated an ability to attract additional contributions independently. Businessman Thomas Peterffy and some of his associates also indicated they were holding back contributions due to DeSantis’s positions on social issues. Peterffy had donated to a PAC aligned with Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, whom some donors hope will enter the race.
Although Never Back Down currently boasts a substantial $97 million in funds, surpassing those of DeSantis’s rivals, a significant portion of these funds comes from an $82 million transfer from a Florida-based political committee that supported DeSantis’s reelection.
During a recent meeting, top officials from Never Back Down urged donors to contribute an additional $50 million by the end of the year. DeSantis’s campaign spokesperson, Andrew Romeo, defended the support for the governor, highlighting his impressive fundraising achievements and grassroots enthusiasm.
Despite these fundraising challenges, the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination remains fluid, with DeSantis aiming to build momentum and secure the support of key conservative donors.