Super PAC Backing DeSantis Says It Has Raised $30 Million

The super PAC that is likely to serve as the main vehicle supporting Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida in a Republican presidential primary has raised $30 million since March 9, a senior official with the group said on Sunday night.

The sums raised for the super PAC, named Never Back Down, show the financial might that would back a DeSantis campaign, should he enter the presidential race, as expected, after the Florida legislative session ends in early May.

The fund-raising was described by an official with the group, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal operations. The official did not disclose any names of donors.

None of the money raised was transferred from another committee, the official said. Mr. DeSantis’s state political committee had more than $82 million as of last month, which could eventually be transferred to another entity supporting him.

Because Never Back Down is a federal super PAC, it can raise unlimited sums from donors. Over half the money was donated from people outside Florida, the official said.

The group is raising funds online, sending money into a “Draft Ron” entity that could be transferred to an eventual presidential race.

Fund-raising is expected to be a strength for Mr. DeSantis in a presidential contest, as a number of major Republican donors have expressed interest in him as a formidable challenger to the front-runner, former President Donald J. Trump.

Mr. Trump, who was never the favorite of most major donors but who had most of their support while he was president, has not mustered the same type of backing for his 2024 presidential campaign. (He is scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday in Manhattan in a case related to hush-money payments to a porn actress.)

By contrast, Mr. DeSantis is expected to have tens of millions of dollars in commitments of support from donors, according to one Republican fund-raiser familiar with his operation. Money, this Republican said, will not be a problem for Mr. DeSantis.

Never Back Down is being led by Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, who served as acting deputy secretary of homeland security under Mr. Trump. Mr. Cuccinelli has been traveling the country to drum up support for a DeSantis candidacy.

The super PAC recently hired Jeff Roe, a Republican strategist who has played key roles in advising Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Gov. Glenn Youngkin of Virginia, among others. And the team has hired several other national campaign veterans, including some who worked for Mr. Trump.

For the 2024 Republican nomination, Mr. Trump has consistently led in national public polling of primary voters, and Mr. DeSantis has been his closest competitor in a still-growing field. On Sunday, former Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas announced his campaign, joining a fellow former Republican governor, Nikki Haley of South Carolina, looking to challenge Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump also has a super PAC, Make America Great Again PAC, which recently began running ads attacking Mr. DeSantis. The group has not released fund-raising numbers.

Source: Read Full Article