In the first six months of this year, former President Donald Trump’s fundraising fell below $50 million. It’s the first six-month period since Trump left the White House when his fundraising fell to that level, and it puts his most recent six-month total below that of Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis.
Neither Trump nor DeSantis have formally confirmed they’ll be running in the 2024 Republican presidential primary, although Trump seems all-but-certain to do so, and DeSantis might. A key organization associated with the ex-president called the Save America Joint Fundraising Committee raised $17 million in the second quarter of this year, a slight decrease from the $19 million brought in during the first quarter. Money that comes in to that committee is allocated towards various groups affiliated with the former president. There’s been a steady decline in the fundraising totals for the ex-president since he left office. In the first half of last year — which mostly consisted of time he was out of office, he brought in over $56 million in online donations. The second half of 2021 saw about $51 million.
DeSantis’s six-month total for the first half of 2022 was about $45 million, putting him some $9 million ahead of the ex-president — although donations to that joint fundraising committee associated with Trump don’t capture the entirety of the money he’s brought in. Other donations include amounts directly given to the Save America PAC; new donations provided directly to the PAC in what sounds like June will be revealed later this month. The Post notes there are a couple important caveats to the comparison of Trump and DeSantis’s fundraising. Trump’s joint fundraising PAC has limits on what individual donors can send in, but DeSantis has a committee that can accept unlimited donations. In addition, DeSantis is actually running for something — re-election as Florida’s governor. Trump hints a lot at running for president again, but there’s yet to be some kind of formal confirmation of what he’s doing — and it’s not precisely clear why.
A Trump spokesperson, Taylor Budowich, had funnily ridiculous remarks about the new joint fundraising committee numbers: “He is not only raising money at an unparalleled pace, but he is investing in America First candidates and continuing to grow the MAGA movement into 2022 and beyond,” Budowich said of Trump. Actually, Trump’s fundraising seems quite “paralleled” — and surpassed, in fact, by that of DeSantis.
Although DeSantis’s future plans beyond trying to get re-elected as Florida’s governor aren’t clear, he’s widely seen as a potential presidential contender and is seemingly the only candidate to have a formidable showing when pitted against Trump. In a recent survey from The New York Times and Siena College of Republicans who said they’d vote in their party’s upcoming presidential primary, Trump had 49 percent, and DeSantis had 25 percent. It seems safe to assume DeSantis is a near-automatic front-runner in the next presidential contest if Trump sits it out for some reason. No other candidate hit double-digits in that poll.
The Save America PAC is a type of political organization known as a leadership PAC. Such entities can not directly financially support the candidate’s or potential candidate’s own campaign, but they can support other campaigns. In line with that allowance, the Save America PAC dished out millions of dollars on the Pennsylvania GOP Senate primary — where Trump’s side was successful — and Georgia’s GOP primary race for governor, where his pick lost. According to information obtained by the Post, spending at the PAC rose last month in connection to legal bills tied to the work of the House committee investigating January 6 and increasing costs of conducting fundraising, among other complicating factors. It’s July 20 when the PAC’s June report to the Federal Election Commission is due and when more details about its recent spending will be available.