Home Politics Elections Inside DeSantis’ 2024 launch prep: Donor dinner, a more personal pitch

Inside DeSantis’ 2024 launch prep: Donor dinner, a more personal pitch


People familiar with the meetings said Ron DeSantis is dining with dozens of wealthy fundraisers at the Florida governor’s mansion in Tallahassee this week and next. These tours are giving top supporters more time with Republicans As governor prepares to launch his presidential campaign after criticism That he has neglected the personal side of politics.

Small groups of “bundlers” — who raise money from their own large network of donors — have been receiving briefings from the governor’s advisers and having dinner with DeSantis and his wife, Casey DeSantis, according to four people familiar with the meetings. Most of whom spoke on condition of anonymity to describe private conversations. One of the people said these gatherings are a chance for DeSantis to build relationships and introduce himself to potential campaign staff, while another said they address the “supply and demand” challenge of DeSantis’ national tour over the past few months. Let’s help – little time to sit down with everyone interested.

Both of these people, who also have knowledge of the internal planning, said DeSantis is considering launching a presidential investigative committee soon as a possible first step, and aides expect an official campaign announcement by June. Many supporters are eager for DeSantis to quickly dive into the race after a difficult period in which DeSantis has fallen behind former President Donald Trump in polls for the Republican race, as Trump has relentlessly attacked him. The governor has criticized the GOP for policy moves and their Commentary on the war in UkraineAnd some Republicans have complained that he is too impersonal in his talks.

Terry Sullivan, who was the campaign manager for Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential bid, suggested that “unrealistic expectations” hurt DeSantis and said he had “a lot of money in the bank and a good sense of humor” in a campaign. story”. Sullivan, who remains neutral on the race, said he “still has the best shot at defeating Donald Trump of anyone in the field.”

Beyond building relationships with donors, DeSantis’ allies are seeking to introduce him to Republican primary voters on more personal and favorable terms. DeSantis, a super PAC supporting Never Back Down, has spent more than $1o million on ads in the past few weeks, according to AdImpact, which tracks political advertising — more than the total of super PACs supporting Trump. Over $9 million in advertising spending. MAGA Inc. Nearly all of the $10 million has gone toward positive ads, running nationally and in the initially named states, that highlight DeSantis’ family story, his handling of the pandemic, and his criticism of what he calls a “woke crowd”. They say.

Never Back Down’s communications director Erin Perrin said in a statement that the group is highlighting DeSantis’ personal story, from “his blue-collar roots” to his youth baseball career. She said that as “more Americans learn [DeSantis’s] His position is further strengthened by a story of service, family and conservative values.

The emphasis on the personal side of DeSantis brings to mind one of the biggest question marks looming over his expected campaign. While he boasts a staunchly conservative record and a decisive re-election victory, he is just beginning to introduce himself to voters outside Florida, showed glow of awesomeness and alienated for some donors and power brokers. He also faces an opponent in the form of Trump, who has a record for exploiting his opponents’ weaknesses in deeply personal ways.

DeSantis’ team is considering traveling to several states with the 2024 announcement and has discussed the possibility of an event at the governor’s old baseball field in his hometown of Dunedin, Fla., according to one of the people with knowledge of internal planning. . The person said DeSantis is unlikely to make any public moves before Florida lawmakers act on a budget passed this week. On Saturday, DeSantis is set to speak at a marathon county GOP fundraising dinner in Wisconsin.

Representatives for DeSantis did not respond to a request for comment. nbc news First reported that DeSantis’ team was being eyed by a search committee and Bloomberg News informed earlier That the governor’s team was in Dunedin discussing the 2024 announcement.

Asked about his plans at Friday’s news conference, DeSantis said, “We’ll get to that relatively soon.” “You either have to put up with it or keep quiet.”

Roy Bailey, a former Trump fundraiser from Texas who attended a dinner with DeSantis this week, said a briefing covered the governor’s Florida record and the numbers behind his re-election. Others familiar with the meetings said they also covered the possibilities for governor in 2024.

Bailey, who endorses DeSantis for the GOP nomination, praised the governor as “the smartest and most capable government public service executive I have ever seen,” and said he is not reading too much into national polling. until DeSantis jumps into the race and “all engines firing.”

He said, “Then if he’s polling a lot, that’s fine.”

Others have warned that if things don’t change soon, they will get worried. Another DeSantis donor, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be more specific, said, “I’d be more concerned if he’s still behind Trump after he makes the announcement.” The donor expressed disapproval of some of DeSantis’ recent policy moves – such as the signing of a six-week abortion ban – but remains supportive.

DeSantis aides have long expected a campaign launch sometime after the end of the Florida legislative session, which concluded on Friday. Aided by a Republican supermajority, DeSantis has passed nearly all of his legislative priorities. Accomplishments he can cite in a presidential primary.

But the legislative session has also exposed potential vulnerabilities for DeSantis. As some donors worried he went too far on abortion, others criticized DeSantis’ moves to escalate his months-long battle with Disney — now the subject. dueling trials, “It’s a big employer inside Florida,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said recently. “I think the governor should sit down with him.”

Recently a string of Florida Republicans in Congress Supported Despite being left off Trump DeSantis’ team for 2024, one of them, Rep. Greg Steube, openly criticizing DeSantis was unavailable and said the governor did not call when he was seriously injured.

DeSantis sits a clear second behind Trump in the polls, with other current and potential candidates stuck in the single digits. late april A CBS News poll found that 58 percent of likely Republican primary voters said they would vote for Trump today, while 22 percent picked DeSantis. Trump leads DeSantis by double digits when voters are allowed to choose several candidates they are considering.

Jenna Peck, who ran the governor’s 2022 reelection campaign, is expected to be campaign manager, while Lauren Lofstrom, finance director for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign, according to people familiar with the roles. will take care of the money collection on the campaign side. Pollster Ryan Tyson of Florida and DeSantis’ former chief of staff in Congress, Dustin Carmack, are also advising the governor.

The Never Back Down, pro-DeSantis super PAC, which has veteran activists, is promoting it and drawing a sharp contrast with its main rival. One The ad, which aired this week in four early states, ends with a man applying a DeSantis bumper sticker over his Trump 2016 sticker.

Another venue asked “Whatever happened to Donald Trump?” and accused him of using the Democrats’ playbook to attack DeSantis on Social Security. According to AdImpact, Never Back Down spent less than $70,000 to air the ad.

Although The advertising blitz has yet to change the dynamics of the race on a national level. Trump’s campaign this week destroyed a memo from advisers titled, “DeSantis Is Burning Through Cash Just to Slide Forward in the Polls.” Perrin, a spokeswoman for Never Back Down, argued that Trump’s attacks showed he was afraid of DeSantis.

Never Back Down raised $33 million; Robert Bigelow, a megadonor, took credit for over $20 million of that amount. DeSantis has more than $80 million in a state political committee, much of it left over from his gubernatorial race. Transferring that money to a super PAC for use in a federal race could draw complaints to the Federal Election Commission, but the FEC has declined to punish similar moves.

Super PACs have started responding to other 2024 rivals as well. One Video “Mickey Haley” ridiculed recently after criticism of declared presidential candidate Nikki Haley DeSantis feud Along with Disney, which last year opposed Republican-led legislation to ban school discussions of gender identity and sexual orientation.

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