Governor Ron DeSantis’s Astonishing $160 Million Failed Presidential Bid: Unveiling the Exorbitant Campaign Spending

In the world of politics, money plays a significant role in campaigns and elections. Candidates often spend large sums of money to fund their campaigns and reach voters. Recently, it was revealed that Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida spent an astonishing amount of money on his failed presidential bid. In fact, his campaign and allied super PACs spent over $160 million in a single nominating contest, making it one of the most expensive Republican primary elections in history.

The details of where the money went were laid out in filings to the Federal Election Commission.[0] It was discovered that a significant portion of the funds went to firms controlled or owned by Jeff Roe, a powerful Republican strategist who served as the top adviser to DeSantis’s main super PAC, Never Back Down.[1] At least $53 million was directed through these firms.[1] Additionally, $31.3 million was spent on television advertising time and at least $3.3 million was spent on private airfare.[1]

A recent report by Rolling Stone shed further light on the exorbitant spending. According to the report, DeSantis spent over $7,000 on each vote he received in the Iowa caucus.[0] This amount is staggering and raises questions about the efficiency and effectiveness of campaign spending. It seems that DeSantis and his allies, including Never Back Down and Fight Right, another PAC supporting him, spent approximately $170 million on his bid for the nomination.[0] This equates to approximately $7,169 per vote.[0]

While a significant portion of the campaign’s spending went towards standard travel costs, such as hotels, car rentals, and commercial airlines, it is noteworthy that more than half of the travel spending, nearly $457,000, was paid to TMFB Management Services, a business travel company owned by Craig Mateer.[2] Mateer is a campaign donor who was appointed by DeSantis to the State University System’s Board of Governors.[2] The campaign’s travel spending also encompassed three other business travel companies: TMFB Management Services, Workman Transportation, and Corporate Traveler.[3]

It is important to note that DeSantis’s campaign spent nearly as much on travel in the fourth quarter of 2023 as it did on its payroll costs.[2] This demonstrates the significant investment made in travel expenses. The campaign report shows that the travel spending mainly included hotels, commercial flights, and car rentals.[4] A substantial portion of the funds, approximately $2 million, was also allocated towards placing ads.[4]

As the campaign progressed, there were signs of upheaval within the group supporting DeSantis. Never Back Down and DeSantis’s leadership PAC, Great American Comeback, began shifting resources to another super PAC called Fight Right.[2] This new PAC, formed in November by several DeSantis allies, received transfers totaling $9.6 million from Never Back Down.[2] DeSantis’s leadership PAC also contributed approximately $2 million to Fight Right.[2]

The campaign filings also shed light on the fundraising efforts of DeSantis.[5] It was revealed that he raised $6.7 million and spent $9.3 million. However, a significant portion of the funds could not be used until the general election.[3] Despite the multi-million dollar investment in the race, DeSantis dropped out of the presidential race following a second-place showing in the Iowa caucuses.

In conclusion, the amount of money spent on political campaigns continues to reach unprecedented heights. Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida spent over $160 million on his failed presidential bid, making it one of the most expensive Republican primary elections in history. The details of where the money went reveal significant spending on travel expenses, advertising, and the support of various PACs. These findings raise questions about the effectiveness and efficiency of campaign spending and highlight the significant role money plays in politics.

0. “Guess How Much Ron DeSantis’ Campaign Spent on Each Iowa Vote” Jezebel, 1 Feb. 2024,

1. “Ron DeSantis Wasted Over $160 Million Failing to Stop Trump” New York Magazine, 1 Feb. 2024,

2. “4 ways DeSantis and his allies burned through $160 million” Miami Herald, 1 Feb. 2024,

3. “New reports detail how DeSantis outsourced his campaign to a super PAC” NBC News, 31 Jan. 2024,

4. “Super PAC supporting DeSantis spent $130 million on travel, consulting and canvassing” POLITICO, 1 Feb. 2024,

5. “DeSantis’ team spent $160M on his presidential bid in 2023” Tampa Bay Times, 1 Feb. 2024,

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