Concerns Rise as Donor Exodus Threatens DeSantis’s 2024 Presidential Campaign

In the race for the Republican nomination for the 2024 presidential election, tensions are rising within Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ campaign. Recent reports reveal that DeSantis’s super PAC, Never Back Down, is experiencing a donor exodus, with major contributors opting to support more moderate candidates such as former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley.[0] This shift in donor support raises questions about DeSantis’s ability to secure the financial backing necessary for a successful campaign.

According to Politico, of the 50 top donors who contributed at least $160,000 to DeSantis’s 2022 gubernatorial reelection campaign, only 16 have contributed to the Never Back Down super PAC.[1] Additionally, only eight donors have directly contributed to DeSantis’s presidential campaign, suggesting a lack of enthusiasm among his previous supporters.[2] This decline in donor support is concerning for DeSantis, who must rely on these contributions to sustain his campaign operations.

The donor exodus is seen as a response to the growing momentum of Vivek Ramaswamy, a rival candidate who is gaining traction in the Republican primary. Recent polls indicate that Ramaswamy is posing a serious threat to DeSantis and former President Donald Trump, the frontrunners in the race.[3] Ramaswamy’s strong performance in the August debate has further solidified his position as a formidable contender.[4]

The concerns within DeSantis’s campaign were revealed in leaked audio from a meeting with donors. Jeff Roe, a strategist for DeSantis, emphasized the need for $50 million in the next month to sustain campaign operations, particularly in Iowa. Roe expressed urgency, stating that DeSantis must beat Trump within the next 60 days and separate himself from other rivals.[5] These remarks highlight the campaign’s anxiety over Ramaswamy’s rise and the need for significant financial support.

The decline in donor support for DeSantis’s super PAC has raised questions about his fundraising capabilities and overall viability as a candidate. Major donors, such as Robert Bigelow and Ken Griffin, have expressed reservations about contributing further to DeSantis’s campaign, citing concerns about his extreme positions on social issues and the need for more moderate policies.

The situation has led to a reevaluation of campaign strategy for Never Back Down.[6] The super PAC has suspended door-knocking operations in several states, including Nevada, California, Texas, and North Carolina, and redirected resources to three early-voting states. This shift in focus reflects the need to prioritize key primary states and maximize limited resources.

In response to the reports, a spokesperson for the DeSantis campaign downplayed the donor exodus, emphasizing the continued enthusiasm from grassroots and major supporters.[2] The campaign remains optimistic about fundraising success, particularly following DeSantis’s strong debate performance and momentum in early-voting states.

As the Republican primary race heats up, the donor exodus from DeSantis’s super PAC raises concerns about his ability to secure the financial backing necessary for a successful campaign. With Ramaswamy gaining momentum and major donors expressing reservations, DeSantis must work to regain support and demonstrate his viability as a candidate. The coming months will be crucial for DeSantis as he navigates the challenges of fundraising and solidifies his position in a crowded field of contenders.

0. “DeSantis Has Reportedly Lost More Than Two-Thirds of His Top Donors, With One Key Backer Now Saying ‘Nikki Haley Probably Has the Best Chance’” Mediaite, 6 Sep. 2023,

1. “DeSantis losing support among wealthy donors” Washington Examiner, 7 Sep. 2023,

2. “Ron DeSantis’s Donor Problems Are Giving His Pudding Problems a Run for Their Money: Report” Vanity Fair, 6 Sep. 2023,

3. “Ron DeSantis’ Super PAC Chief Admits To Spreading Negative Intel On Rival Vivek Ramaswamy: ‘Everything Yo” Benzinga, 4 Sep. 2023,

4. “DeSantis Super PAC Rep Boasts Of Cooking Up ‘Scrutiny’ To Target Rival Ramaswamy” Yahoo News, 4 Sep. 2023,

5. “‘We need 50 million bucks’: Ron DeSantis fundraiser makes a bold sales pitch to political donors” The Irish Times, 1 Sep. 2023,

6. “Ron DeSantis super PAC cuts back on door-knocking in several states” Washington Examiner, 31 Aug. 2023,

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